On 24 July 2017, the European Commission opened an in-depth investigation, under the EU merger regulation, on the proposed takeover of Haldex by Knorr-Bremse.
Knorr-Bremse and Haldex are two of the world’s largest manufacturers of commercial vehicle brake systems and components, together with Wabco, with a particularly significant presence in the European Economic Area. Their portfolio for commercial vehicles includes, inter alia, foundation brake products such as air disc brakes and actuators, electronic braking systems (EBS), anti-lock braking systems (ABS), valves, air treatment and driver assistance systems.
The Commission considers that the merger could have a significant impact on the markets where Knorr-Bremse and Haldex currently compete (EBS and air disc brakes for trucks and trailers, ABS for trailers, valves and air treatment systems), as these markets have high entry barriers due to the technical and regulatory requirements for safety-critical equipment; furthermore, research and development efforts required to enter or expand in these markets are significant.
In particular, the Commission is concerned that, following the merger, the level of the remaining competition would be insufficient to avoid price increases and to meet customer requirements in terms of innovation. In some markets, this may result in having Wabco as the only effective competitor to the merged entity.