At the end of July the European Commission sanctioned the effective merger of France's two main rolling stock constructors when they agreed to the acquisition of Bombardier Transportation by Alstom. Between them the two companies provide 100% of France's and 70% of Germany's multiple units. The move comes just 18 months after the Commission had blocked a previous merger proposal between Alstom and Siemens.
The initial proposal from Alstom did not satisfy EU Merger Regulations and raised concerns in the areas of (i) very high speed rolling stock, (ii) mainline rolling stock and (iii) signalling. The acquisition was agreed by the EU on condition that the following commitments are met by Alstom:
(i) The divestment of Bombardier’s assets currently contributing to its joint very high-speed platform with Hitachi, the “Zefiro V300”. Alstom also committed to a series of measures aimed at preserving the joint bid offered in consortium by Bombardier and Hitachi to HS2, the current largest opportunity for the production of very high-speed rolling stock in Europe.
(ii) The divestment of (a) Alstom’s mainline Coradia Polyvalent platform, (b) Alstom’s production facility located in Reichshoffen* in France, (c) Bombardier’s mainline Talent 3 platform, and (d) part of Bombardier’s production facility located in Hennigsdorf in Germany;
(iii) The supply of legacy OBUs (on board units) and necessary interfacing information and support, in favour of signalling competitors; and
(iv) The supply of legacy OBUs to the Dutch infrastructure manager, ProRail, in favour of all interested operators
The acquisition is expected to be completed during the first half of 2021. Alstom's desire to merge with one of it's European competitors has been driven by a desire to create a European company that has the capacity to compete with the Chinese in the world market. When the acquisition is complete Alstom will be the largest manufacturer of rolling stock in Europe and the second largest in the world after Chinese manufacturer CRRC.
*Over 300 of the Coradia/Regiolis ordered by SNCF on behalf of the regions have now been delivered with about 30 outstanding. A further 12 may be ordered for the forthcoming Paris - CDG link. Although assembled at Reichshoffen major components are constructed at Alstom sites at Ornans, Le Creusot, Tarbes and Villeurbanne.