On 8 January 2019, the European Commission agreed to the request, submitted by the French and German Governments, to examine Fincantieri‘s proposed acquisition of Chantiers de l’Atlantique in the light of Regulation (EC) No 139/2004 on the control of concentrations between undertakings. Chantiers de l’Atlantique is a French shipbuilding company, whose capital is held by the French State through the Agence des participations de l’État. Fincantieri is an Italian shipbuilding group, the bulk of whose capital is held by Cassa depositi e prestiti, itself majority-owned by the Italian State.

Under Regulation (EC) No 139/2004, transactions having an EU dimension and reaching specific turnover thresholds must be notified to the Commission. The proposed acquisition of Chantiers de l’Atlantique did not reach these turnover thresholds and, therefore, Fincantieri did not notify the merger. However, France submitted to the Commission, in accordance with article 22, paragraph 1 of the Regulation, the request to examine the merger. Germany joined the referral request submitted by France.

Article 22 of Regulation (EC) No 139/2004 provides that ‘… [o]ne or more Member States may request the Commission to examine any concentration as defined in Article 3 that does not have a Community dimension within the meaning of Article 1 but affects trade between Member States and threatens to significantly affect competition within the territory of the Member State or States making the request…’.

According to the Commission, the transaction couldsignificantly harm competition in shipbuilding, in particular in the global cruise ship market. Therefore, it will fully examine the potential cross-border effects of the transaction and will ask Fincantieri to notify the transaction under article 4, paragraph of Regulation (EC) No 139/2004.