Network Rail wants European Commission to block Siemens-Alstom merger
British infrastructure manager Network Rail has asked the European Commission to block the merger of Siemens and Alstom, because it would do ‘great harm’ to the railways in Great-Britain.
Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines calls the merger ‘one of the most significant threats to our operations at the present’ in a letter to EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, the Financial Times reports. The combined business of Siemens and Alstom would have had 93 per cent of Great-Britain’s signalling market in 2016-2017. He suggests Siemens and Alstom should have to sell Siemens Mobility units.
Reuters reported last week that both Siemens and Alstom can expect a warning from antitrust regulators. The European Commission is worried that the merger will reduce competition. Siemens and Alstom must come up with concessions, which may include the sale of assets. The companies are expected to have several weeks to respond to the warning. If they do not, the deal could be blocked.
In July, the Commission expressed concern that the merger may reduce competition in the supply of several types of trains and signalling systems, and launched an in-depth investigation into the merger. The Commission has to rule on the merger by January 28.
Siemens and Alstom want to merge to compete with the Chinese railway company CRRC. CRRC is bigger than Siemens, Alstom and Bombardier combined.