Bombardier is allowed to go to Alstom

The EU Commission’s no to the rail merger between Siemens and French competitor Alstom triggered outrage last year. Now at least the French can breathe a sigh of relief.

The Bombardier “Ville de Geneve” double-decker train

Dhe French rail manufacturer Alstom is allowed to take over the train division of its Canadian competitor Bombardier subject to certain conditions. The EU Commission approved the merger on Friday on condition that Alstom keep all of its commitments. One of them is that the French manufacturer sells production facilities.

On the one hand, the production of “Talent 3” local trains, located in Hennigsdorf in Brandenburg, is to be sold. The production of the “Coradia Polyvalent” long-distance train in Koenigshoffen, Alsace, is also to be sold. In addition, Bombardier Transportation intends to give up its project share in the cooperation for the high-speed train V300 Zefiro. Ultimately, competitors are to have access to Alstom’s signaling technology and the company’s control systems (TCMS).

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said her agency was able to examine the deal quickly as Alstom was quick to propose “remedial measures” to address existing competition concerns. “The company resulting from the merger will have a stronger market position in the future. At the same time, these remedies will keep it competitive in its core markets, ”said Vestager.

According to reports, Alstom worked more closely with the EU authority in the Bombardier case than in the case of the merger with Siemens’ train division, which the EU authority banned in February 2019. France’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Bruno Le Maire, supported both projects with the argument that the establishment of European “frontrunners” must be promoted.

According to the EU authorities, the merger would not have been approved without the commitments because the merged company’s dominance in three markets would have become too great. The company would have generally become the market leader for high-speed trains without any restrictions, the market share for long-distance trains would have continued to grow, especially in Germany and France, and for signaling technology in long-distance traffic, the company would have had the opportunity to hinder or prevent competitors from entering the market.