AdC opens in-depth investigation into the RBI (Transdev Group) / Fundão Group merger

​Press release 01/2020
AdC opens in-depth investigation into the RBI (Transdev Group) / Fundão Group merger
The Portuguese Competition Authority (AdC) has decided to open an in-depth investigation into the acquisition by Rodoviária da Beira Interior, SA (RBI), a company of the Transdev Group, of the companies ATF - Auto Transportes do Fundão, SA and Joaquim Martins da Fonseca, Lda. (jointly referred to as “Grupo Fundão”), as well as of the public service concessions currently held by the companies Transerramar - Viagens e Turismo, Lda. and Auto Transportes do Fundão, SA.
Both Fundão Group and RBI carry out their activity in the context of public passenger transport services by road.
The decision to proceed to an in-depth investigation is grounded in the fact that, in light of the elements collected so far, it cannot be excluded that the Transdev Group and the Fundão Group will tend, due to the possible competitive advantages inherent to their presence in the current geographical areas of implantation of the Fundão Group (Intermunicipal Community of Beira Baixa, Beiras and Serra da Estrela and Coimbra), to be potentially strong candidates for future tender procedures for the exploitation of the public passenger transport service by road in the areas where Fundão Group operates.
If this understanding is confirmed in the context of an in-depth investigation, it cannot be excluded that the acquisition of Grupo Fundão by Grupo Transdev results in an effective elimination of competition for future public transport service concessions or contracts.
This merger comes at a particular moment of market liberalization, in which, through the adoption of Law no. 52/2015, of 9 June, which approves the new Legal Regime for the Public Passenger Transport Services by Road, the different Intermunicipal Communities and other Transport Authorities shall, depending on the transport service organization model chosen, implement public procurement procedures aimed at awarding public service concessions or service provision contracts in the area of public passenger transport.
The AdC requested an opinion from the Authority for Mobility and Transport (AMT) as the activities in question are subject to sector regulation.
Under the terms of the Competition Law, after due diligence in the context of the in-depth investigation, the Portuguese Competition Authority may adopt a:
  • Non-opposition decision, if it concludes that the merger, as notified or following changes introduced by RBI, is not likely to create significant barriers to competition in the relevant markets; or
  • Prohibition decision, if it concludes that the merger is likely to create significant barriers to competition in the markets in question, with clear losses for consumers of public road passenger transport services and contracting entities.
Lisbon, 26 February 2020