Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Ship Building Deal Challenged by Two European Governments

France and Germany Line Up Against Italian State Interests
Shipping News Feature
EUROPE – The European Commission is to investigate the planned acquisition of French shipbuilding group, Chantiers de l'Atlantique, by Italian rival, Fincantieri, at the request by France and Germany over fears that the transaction could harm competition at on a European and global level.

The proposed acquisition of Chantiers de l'Atlantique by Fincantieri does not reach the turnover thresholds set by the EU Merger Regulation for transactions notifiable to the European Commission because of their European dimension. However, the plan was notified for authorisation in France and Germany.

France has submitted a referral request pursuant to Article 22(1) of the EU Merger Regulation. This provision allows Member States to request that the Commission examine a concentration that does not have an EU dimension but affects trade within the single market and threatens to significantly affect competition within the territory of the Member States making the request. Germany subsequently joined the referral request submitted by France.

On the basis of the information provided by France and Germany, and without prejudice to the outcome of its exhaustive investigation, the Commission considers that the transaction could significantly harm competition in shipbuilding, in particular in the global cruise ship market. The Commission also concluded that it was best placed to examine the potential cross-border effects of the transaction. Therefore the acquisition of Chantiers de l'Atlantique by Fincantieri will be fully examined by the Commission.

Fincantieri is an Italian shipbuilding group, the bulk of whose capital is held by Cassa depositi e prestiti, itself majority-owned by the Italian State. The Fincantieri group is mainly active in the design and construction of merchant vessels, military vessels and specialised high-end offshore vessels. It also provides services to ship owners and designs and manufactures mechanical equipment and is Europe's largest shipbuilder.

Chantiers de l'Atlantique is a French shipbuilding company based in Saint-Nazaire, the bulk of whose capital is held by the French State through the Agence des participations de l'État (the French Government shareholding agency). Chantiers de l'Atlantique is mainly active in the design and construction of passenger ships. It also provides services to ship owners.

Photo: Fincantieri specialises in cruise ships.