EC approves JV between DSB and First
Mergers: Commission approves proposed creation of joint venture between DSB and First for operation of Oresund bridge
Brussels, Belgium – The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed concentration by which the Danish company DSB and FirstGroup plc of the UK would acquire joint control of the newly created Danish joint venture ÖRESUNDSTÅG ApS. The joint venture would operate a railway transport passenger service on the Oresund bridge between Denmark and Sweden. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.
DSB is fully owned by the Danish Ministry of Transport and engaged in regional and interregional railroad transport in Denmark. DSB also provides railway transport services in Sweden, through its participation in Roslagtåg AB, operating the Roslagsbanan train franchise in the Stockholm area.
First’s European activities are mainly in the UK where it operates a number of rail passenger franchises, bus services and some freight activities. First also has bus and transport management operations in the US and is active to a more limited extent in the provision of bus services in Ireland and Germany.
ÖRESUNDSTÅG, the joint venture, would function as a holding company for two operating companies: Kystbanen A/S and Öresundstrafiken AB. The latter two would be in charge of operating the railway passenger transport services respectively in Denmark, from Helsingor up to the Danish part of the Øresund bridge, and from the Swedish part of the Øresund Bridge through Malmö Central station to three destinations: (i) Lund – Landskrona – Helsingborg – the county border to Halland; (ii) Lund – Hässleholm – the county border to Kronoberg, and (iii) Lund – Hässleholm- Kristiansstad – the county border to Blekinge.
First does not have any activities in the railway passenger transport sector in Denmark or Sweden. Some of the services provided by DSB in Denmark, (i.e. the passenger high-frequency rail network connecting the Greater Copenhagen area, the Ystad connection service and some regional railway passenger services), would overlap to a minimal extent with the railway line to be operated by the joint venture. However, in light of the differences existing between these activities, in terms of both services offered and geographic areas covered, these services cannot be considered interchangeable with the ones to be provided by the joint venture. Moreover, given that DSB is already operating the services which would be provided by the joint venture in Denmark, the proposed transaction would not bring about any change in the Danish market.
In Sweden, the proposed transaction would not give rise to any overlap between DSB’s and the joint venture’s activities given that the joint ventures’ activities would be limited to the Southern part of Sweden, whereas DSB’s activities are focused in the Stockholm area.
More information on the case will be available at: http://ec.europa.eu/comm/competition/mergers/cases/index/m96.html#m_4806