The European Commission has cleared Electrabel Nederland's proposed acquisition of the electricity and gas retail arm of Dutch electricity and gas company Cogas, ruling that the tie-up would not significantly impede competition.
Electrabel Nederland is a Dutch subsidiary of Belgium’s Electrabel, which is in turn controlled by the French utility group Suez. Centraal Overijsselse Nutsbedrijven (Cogas), meanwhile, is a Dutch company active in electricity generation, retail electricity and natural gas supply, maintaining and developing electricity and gas distribution networks, and supplying energy advisory services.
The Commission ruled that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it. It found that the two companies’ activities overlap in several segments of retail supply in the electricity and natural gas markets. However, the Commission concluded that the parties’ combined position would not be large enough to significantly impede competition.
As Electrabel Nederland is also active on the upstream markets of generation and wholesale supply of electricity and natural gas, the Commission also examined the potential vertical effects stemming from the proposed transaction. This examination also concluded that the parties’ market shares are too small to raise any competition concerns.
In its analysis, the Commission also took account of the relevant market shares of the subsidiaries of Gaz de France (GDF) as Suez, the ultimate parent company of Electrabel Nederland, is in the process of seeking clearance for its intended merger with GDF.