EU approves Korean STX’s takeover of Norway’s Aker shipyards

May 5th, 2008 - 10:16 pm ICT by admin  

Brussels, May 5 (DPA) The European Union (EU) Monday cleared the takeover of Norway’s Aker Yards shipbuilder by STX of South Korea, saying that the move would not harm competition in Europe. Aker is one of the world’s top three builders of cruise ships, while STX largely specialises in building cargo ships. European competition regulators had therefore feared that the takeover could stifle competition by removing STX’s incentive to start building cruise ships itself.

However, an in-depth investigation revealed that STX was still “far from” being able to build cruise ships, and that several other Asian shipyards could also potentially compete in Europe, a statement from the European Commission said.

The commission also “found no evidence” indicating that STX would be likely to receive unfair subsidies in the future, the statement said in response to claims from an unnamed third party that this might be the case.

“The commission therefore concluded that competition on the market for cruise ships would not be reduced as a result of the transaction. The commission also analysed the ferries market, where similar concerns were raised, and came to the same conclusion,” a statement said.

Norway is not a member of the EU, but it is part of the European Economic Area (EEA), a grouping which links Liechtenstein, Iceland and the EU’s 27 member states.

The three non-EU members of the EEA enjoy free trade with the EU but follow EU law on trade-related issues, including competition.

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