European Commission approves SNCF acquisition of Eurostar
13 May 2015 • Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review
The European Commission has today announced conditional approval for the SNCF acquisition of Eurostar.
Since it was set up in 2010, Eurostar International Limited has been jointly controlled by the French rail operator SNCF and the UK Government. SNCB holds a minority share. On 4 March 2015 the UK Government announced that it had agreed to sell its stake in Eurostar to a private company. Under the recently approved contract, SNCF has negotiated a new shareholder agreement giving it sole control of Eurostar.
It was the commissions concern that the original notified SNCF agreement would have hindered the entry of competitors to Eurostar onto the London Paris and London Brussels routes, thereby perpetuating Eurostar’s dominant position on these markets. The commission concluded that access to stations and to the services provided in France and Belgium and access to maintenance centres in the UK, France and Belgium would be limited due to capacity limitations and shareholder interests in infrastructure.
Eurostar, SNCF MOBILITES and SNCB have now offered assurances committed to providing fair and non-discriminatory access for a new entrant including, standard and cross‑Channel areas and services, maintenance centres in France, the UK and Belgium and train paths currently used by Eurostar at peak times.