EC OKs P&O, Royal Nedlloyd Split

Wednesday, March 31, 2004
The European Commission approved, pursuant to the Merger Regulation, a proposed transaction by which the British port operator P&O and the Dutch liner shipping company Royal Nedlloyd reorganize their common activities in the container liner shipping business.

In 1996 Royal Nedlloyd NV and Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) transferred all their respective activities in containerized liner shipping services to a newly created joint venture called P&O Nedlloyd (PONL). The businesses transferred included all their container ships, their respective ocean freight-forwarding business, the container packing operation as well as the road haulage business and rail shuttle business. The creation of PONL was approved by the Commission in December 1996 as it concluded that no anti-competitive impact would arise in the markets of container liner shipping and stevedoring services. The present operation consists in the acquisition by Royal Nedlloyd of the 50% stake held by P&O in PONL. The acquisition was notified to the Commission in February. As a result of the transaction, Royal Nedlloyd will change its name to "Royal P&O Nedlloyd". PONL, as a 100% subsidiary of Royal P&O Nedlloyd, will become listed in the Netherlands. This operation will not lead to a material change in the competitive structure of the markets, where Royal Nedlloyd and PONL operate, because Royal Nedlloyd has not kept any liner shipping activities outside PONL. The Commission has therefore decided to clear the proposed operation.

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