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Alstom-Siemens merger decision is ‘set back’

THE proposed merger between Alstom and Siemens has been called off, after it was blocked by the European Commission.

Alstom has described it as ‘a clear set-back for industry in Europe’.

The news was broken by the French finance minister Bruno Le Maire earlier today, and has now been confirmed by Alstom and the Office of Rail and Road in London.

M. Le Maire said he was disappointed with the ruling, saying that it amounted to an ‘economical’ mistake and also a ‘political’ one. He added: ‘The rejection of the Alstom-Siemens merger will serve China’s economic and industrial interests.’

The ’remedies’ suggested by the two parties to avoid a monopoly have not been accepted by the Commission. Alstom said they had been ‘extensive in scope and addressed all the concerns raised by the Commission in respect of signalling or Very High Speed trains’.

In a statement, Alstom continued: ‘Alstom, together with Siemens, is convinced that the transaction would have created substantial value for the global mobility sector, the European railway industry, customers, travellers and commuters, without harming European competition. It would also have allowed the creation of a European player having the ability to cope with the growing competition from non-EU companies.’

In London, the Office of Rail and Road has welcomed the decision.

It said: ‘We’ve made it clear from the outset that this was a bad deal for British passengers, freight customers and taxpayers. We are pleased to have played an important role, alongside colleagues at the Competition and Markets Authority, in persuading the Commission to reach the same view and block this tie-up, protecting vital competition for the supply of signalling and high speed rolling stock.’

Siemens has yet to comment.

Meanwhile, Alstom said it would now ‘focus on pursuing its growth path as a global leader in the mobility sector supported by excellent business fundamentals: a global footprint, a record €40 billion backlog, sales constantly outperforming market growth, and a very solid balance sheet.’

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