FirstGroup, DSB railway joint venture cleared by EU
Thomson Financial: 25 September 2007
BRUSSELS - The European Commission said it has cleared UK's FirstGroup PLC and Denmark's national railway operator (DSB) proposed acquisition of Denmark's Orestundstag ApS.
The joint venture will operate a railway transport passenger service on the Oresund bridge between Denmark and Sweden.
The commission said the transaction would not not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area.
The EU executive said FirstGroup does not have any activities in the railway passenger transport sector in Denmark or Sweden.
Some of the services provided by DSB in Denmark, (such as the passenger high-frequency rail network connecting the Greater Copenhagen area, the Ystad connection service and some regional railway passenger services), would overlap to a minimal extent with the railway line to be operated by the joint venture.
Given the differences in services offered and geographic areas covered, the commission said they 'cannot be considered interchangeable with the ones to be provided by the joint venture'.
It also said that DSB is already operating the services to be provided by the joint venture in Denmark, so the transaction would not bring any change in the Danish market.
'In Sweden, the proposed transaction would not give rise to any overlap between DSB's and the joint venture's activities given that the joint ventures' activities would be limited to the southern part of Sweden, whereas DSB's activities are focused in the Stockholm area,' the commission said.
First Group and DSB plan to operate trains on the Oresund strait, which has a bridge-tunnel connecting the Danish capital of Copenhagen and the Swedish city of Malmo. It is the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe.
DSB currently operates train services on the Danish side of the Oresund and will replace Sweden's SJ on the Swedish side after the deal.
EU OKs Rail Service on Oresund Bridge
Associated Press: 09.25.07
BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Union antitrust regulators on Tuesday approved a joint venture between Denmark's state railway company DSB and British bus and train operator FirstGroup PLC to operate passenger rail services on the Oresund bridge between Denmark and Sweden.
The European Commission said the venture, Oresundstag ApS, would not "significantly impede" competition rules within the 27-nation bloc. The venture foresees running trains between Denmark's city of Helsingoer through Copenhagen to Malmo in Sweden via the Oresund bridge. Traffic has soared to new levels on the 9-mile bridge-and-tunnel link since it opened in 2000 and many use the bridge to commute to work either in Malmo or in Copenhagen.