Container terminal merger in Vienna fails

After obtaining a judicial expert opinion on the planned merger project, the application was withdrawn

Container terminal merger in Vienna fails

On 30 November 2016, Wiener Hafen und Lager Ausbau- und Vermögensverwaltungs, GmbH & Co KG (port of Vienna) and ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG (ÖBB Infrastruktur) applied for a merger with the Federal Competition Authority. The port of Vienna and ÖBB Infrastruktur intended to found a company to operate the container terminal, so far operated by WienCont Containerterminal GmbH in the port of Vienna-Freudenau and the recently constructed container terminal Vienna-Inzersdorf, and provide related services.

On 27 December 2016, the Federal Competition Authority applied for an examination of the merger in proceedings before the cartel court, due to several concerns. The examination by the cartel court required to assess whether the transaction created or strengthened a dominant position on the regional market for container terminal services. In particular, the geographical market definition and the market shares required a judicial review.

The court expert confirmed the concerns of the authority. As a consequence, the two companies withdrew their application for the merger on 18 May 2017, which is why the cartel court also dismissed the application for an examination by order of 8 June 2017.

“If a merger results in the market power of a company, this can cause problems for the market development. The Federal Competition Authority is always available for a round table to work out alternative proposals for a merger which would make sense for a positive market development,” said Dr. Theodor Thanner, Director General of the Federal Competition Authority.