BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU regulators reviewing a plan by Siemens (SIEGn.DE) and Alstom (ALSO.PA) to merge their rail operations will take into account competitive pressure from Chinese rival CRRC, Europe’s antitrust chief said on Monday.
Industrial group Siemens and Alstom are seeking to create a Franco-German champion in the rail industry, better able to compete with bigger rival CRRC and Bombadier Transportation.
The Chinese competitor, with annual turnover of about $35 billion, dwarfs Siemens’ rail unit Siemens Mobility, Alstom and the Canadian company. Even though it has just two projects in Britain and the Czech Republic, rivals said it is poised to grab more business across Europe in future.
“We are all in favor of European businesses being able to grow and of course we want to have a full picture including what is the competitive pressure from China,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told a hearing in the European Parliament.
“How are Chinese companies influencing the global market and the European market,” she said.
Vestager said the EU review would focus on rolling stocks, trains and signaling technology.
The European Commission’s preliminary review of the deal ends on July 13, which could be extended if the companies offer concessions, or it could open a four-month investigation if it has serious concerns.
Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Susan Fenton