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French-German rail merger blocked by Brussels

Alstom makes TGV high-speed trains

 

Brussels has knocked down a proposed French-German rail merger, designed to help Europe compete with China.

 

The EU’s competition commission blocked the tie-up, saying uniting France’s Alstom with the rail arm of Germany’s Siemens would lead to higher prices.

The firms had said the merger would create an industrial champion on a par with other global players.

France’s finance minister, Bruno Le Maire said the decision would “serve the interests of China”.

“The Commission prohibited the merger because the companies were not willing to address our serious competition concerns,” Margrethe Vestager, the European competition commissioner said in a statement.

“Without sufficient remedies, this merger would have resulted in higher prices for the signalling systems that keep passengers safe and for the next generations of very high-speed trains,” she added.

Siemens makes ICE trains for Deutsche Bahn and builds units for Channel Tunnel operator Eurostar. Alstom manufactures Frances’ TGV bullet train amongst other rolling stock and signalling systems.

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