Commission authorises acquisition of Sogerail (France) by British Steel (UK)
99/614 of 4 August 1999
Steel - ECSC - rails -
The European Commission has authorised the acquisition of Sogerail by British Steel, an operation which will make British Steel the largest producer of rails in the European Union.
British Steel plc is already a major integrated steel maker with production facilities in Europe and in the USA. It produces a wide variety of hot and cold rolled steel products, including rails for public transport. The company being acquired, the French rail producer Sogerail, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Usinor, and is one of largest European rail producers.
After the acquisition, British Steel will have a share of about 30% of the European Economic Area rail market. However, it will face competition from other large producers of rails based in the EEA such as Voest Alpine, Thyssen Krupp and Lucchini, each with market shares of between 10% and 25%, and from producers based in Central and Eastern Europe, who in 1998 accounted for about 10% of the EEA consumption.
The Commission examined the acquisition in the light of the rules on mergers in the ECSC Treaty (Article 66 ECSC). It found that the proposed operation will not put British Steel in such a situation as to take an unfair advantage of its position, and therefore authorised the parties to proceed.
Case ECSC.1311, British Steel/Sogerail.
Commission Decision of 3 August 1999.
Commission Press Release 99/614 of 4 August 1999.
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