In a last-ditch attempt to defend their planned merger, Siemens and Alstom sent a proposed concession plan to the European Commission for approval after the train manufacturers continued to argue in favour of an Airbus-type deal that will create a European champion that can fend off China’s encroachment into markets that have traditionally been dominated by European companies.
The new entity would boast combined revenue of €15 billion and an overall size that could compete, if not match, China’s state-backed operator, CRRC.
Having developed the world’s first hydrogen-powered trains, Alstom would give the group a major technological edge.
The EU’s Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, is, however, not convinced that the two companies have done enough not to unfairly dominate the market.
In July, the Commission launched an investigation into the proposed acquisition of France’s Alstom by Germany’s Siemens to ensure that European rail operators are not deprived of a choice of suppliers and innovative products which would lead to higher prices.
The companies have since agreed to shed signalling activities that amount to 4% of combined sales.
The European Commission has also demanded that the Franco-German consortium provide low cost licensing for high-speed train technology.
A final decision by the Commission is expected on February 18, 2019.