The European Commission gave train builder Alstom the green light on Friday for the takeover of the train branch from Canadian Bombardier. The deal involves a sloppy 6.2 billion euros.
The takeover creates the second largest train builder in the world; only the Chinese CRRC is bigger. Siemens is number three.
Bombardier is best known in the Netherlands for the trains it supplies to the NS. The well-known double-decker used as an intercity, the VIRM, is produced by Talbot, part of Bombardier. Alstom is no stranger to the Dutch railways either: the company produces the IC Berlin trains and the Thalys aircraft.
Not all NS trains are made by the two companies. Two NS sprinters are made by other companies.
Alstom previously tried to take over Siemens
The Alstom giga takeover is not the first attempt to significantly expand the company. Alstom previously tried to take over Siemens, but that attempt failed because the European Commission went for it.
Brussels blocked that takeover because the two companies "did not intend to take sufficient measures to address concerns about competition," said European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager (Competition) at the time.
Alstom wants to make those concessions this time. As part of the deal, the company will also sell a factory in Reichshoffen, France. Bombardier will in turn sell a factory in Hennigsdorf, Germany. The acquisition will be completed in the first half of 2021.
"The European Commission's decision is good news for the European train industry, which should be one of the forerunners of innovation in Europe," said French Finance Minister Bruno LeMaire with satisfaction.