French Finance Minister Blasts EU Decision Blocking Alstom-Siemens Merger

France’s Finance Minister expressed his disappointment on the European Union’s decision rejecting the merger proposal of Alstom and Siemens, which was aimed to strengthen the companies on a global stage.

Bruno Le Maire told at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Sunday, “Let’s have a look at reality; we are facing a huge challenge with the rise of the Chinese industry. What do we do, shall we divide the European forces, or try to merge the European forces from the industrial point of view?”

His comments came after the European Union blocked a rail deal involving a merger of Alstom and Siemens on Wednesday citing competition concerns. The merger proposal between the French and German companies was aimed to create a European rail giant with revenues of about 15 billion euros ($17 billion). The initial proposal of the merger referred only to the companies’ transport services and would have combined them into one new firm, solely controlled by Siemens.

As per the EU’s competition authority, the proposed merger would have created a giant company in many signaling markets, along with that it would have reduced the number of suppliers by eliminating one of the two largest manufacturers who could provide very high-speed rolling stock.

Both the French and German governments showed support to the merger as they believed the deal would’ve been an excellent counter to the economic rise of China.

Le Maire added, “I think it was a mistake from the EU commission to refuse that merger between Alstom and Siemens.”

“I strongly believe that the right solution is not more division, but more cooperation among French, German and other European companies. That’s exactly what we proposed with the merger between Alstom and Siemens. The Commission took that decision, of course, we will abide by that decision, but we will make very strong proposals to change the rules of competition and to allow European industrials to merge and to be stronger,” he said.

In Wednesday’s ruling, the European Commission said it thinks the merger would not be able to make a significant competitive constraint in China.

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