European Union antitrust regulators are investigating the planned takeover of Tirrenia, the bankrupt state-owned Italian ferry operator, by a consortium of the country’s leading private shipping lines.
An initial investigation of a merger between Tirrenia and Compagnia Italia de Navigazione indicated “serious competition concerns.” That’s because the companies have very high, if not monopolistic market shares on several routes, especially to and from Sardinia, said the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch.
“The proposed acquisition could strongly reduce competition in the market to the detriment of millions of travelers and numerous freight transporters,” said EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia.
“The Commission needs to make sure that consumers and other customers continue to have a competitive choice of ferry services to and from Sardinia and Sicily.”
CIN is an investment vehicle created by Grimaldi, a roll-on, roll-off operator on Atlantic, Mediterranean and North European routes; Onorata, a holding company that owns the Moby ferry line; and Marinvest, parent of Mediterranean ferry operators GNA and SNAV.
The commission clears the vast majority of mergers and acquisitions after a one-month review, but if it has serious competition concerns it must open an in-depth investigation. The commission is already investigating several Italian government subsidy payments to Tirrenia to ensure they conform to EU state aid regulations.
-- Contact Bruce Barnard at email@example.com.