On the 12 November 2009, the Commission cleared, under the EC Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Segebel by Electricité de France (“EDF”), both of which are active in the energy sector.
During the course of its investigation, the Commission expressed competition concerns in relation to the Belgian wholesale electricity markets. It was felt that the merger would remove EDF as a potential significant entrant in the market and prevent the development of a new generation capacity in Belgium. In particular, the Commission noted that the merged entity may have less incentive to continue with EDF’s development of two sites which contain two Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (“CCGT”) units. These are part of EDF’s plans to develop a new gas-fired electricity generation capacity.
In order to avoid a Phase II investigation by the Commission, EDF proposed a number of commitments, including: the immediate divestment of one of the two companies in charge of the planned CCGT projects; and the divestment of the remaining assets of the CCGT projects if they have not made a final investment decision by June 2011. The Commission believed that these commitments adequately satisfied their competition concerns with another operator being able to further the development of the new generation capacity in Belgium.
IP/09/1704 – 12 November 2009