AdC prohibits the acquisition of Grupo Fundão by the Transdev Group due to risk of eliminating competition in passenger transportation in central Portugal

Press release 14/2020
 
AdC prohibits the acquisition of Grupo Fundão by the Transdev Group due to risk of eliminating competition in passenger transportation in central Portugal
 
The AdC (Portuguese Competition Authority) issued a prohibition decision relative to the acquisition of Grupo Fundão as well as of the public transport service concessions currently held by Transerramar and Auto Transportes do Fundão, by the Transdev Group. The merger would have tended to eliminate competition in the public transportation services in central Portugal.
 
Given the strong presence of the Transdev Group and of Grupo Fundão in the regions of the Intermunicipal Community of Beira Baixa, Beiras and Serra da Estrela and Coimbra, the AdC concluded that the merger would have resulted in an effective elimination of competition for future public transport service concessions or contracts, with damage for consumers and for public procurement tenders.
 
The merger, notified by Rodoviária da Beira Interior (RBI), a company held by the Transdev Group, was subject to an in-depth investigation by the AdC into competition conditions of public transportation services. The investigation took into account the current particular moment of market liberalization.
 
The AdC’s investigation concluded that the Transdev Group and the Fundão Group would have tended to eliminate competition in future tender procedures in public passenger road transportation services in those areas. This would have been the case because of competitive advantages inherent to the firms’ current presence in the geographical areas of service of the Fundão Group (i.e. Intermunicipal Community of Beira Baixa, Beiras and Serra da Estrela and Coimbra).
 
Law no. 52/2015, of 9 June, which approved the new Legal Regime for Public Passenger Road Transport Services, allows for the different Intermunicipal Communities and other Transport Authorities to implement public procurement procedures aimed at awarding public service concessions or service provision contracts in the area of public passenger transport.
 
In accordance with Competition Law provisions, the AdC requested an opinion from the Authority for Mobility and Transport (AMT), given that the merger involved firms with services subject to sector regulation. In its opinion to the AdC, the AMT raised serious concerns regarding the proposed merger.
 
During the investigation, the AdC sought the views of market participants, including municipalities, about competition concerns triggered by the proposed merger. The feedback was overall negative.
 
The parties offered no remedies to concerns identified by the AdC.
 
Grupo Fundão is composed of ATF (Auto Transportes do Fundão) and its subsidiary Joaquim Martins da Fonseca, which carry out their activity in the public passenger road transport services.
 
Transdev Group’s main activity in Portugal involved public passenger road transport services, mainly in the North and Central regions of the country.
 

October 6, 2020