The European Commission has approved the proposed acquisition of freight forwarding and contract logistics provider Bolloré Logistics by French container liner CMA CGM.

The European Commission had expressed concerns as its investigation showed that the merger, as initially notified, would have reduced competition in the markets for the provision of sea freight forwarding services in Martinique, Guadeloupe, and French Guiana.

In a press release confirming its approval of the takeover, the Commission outlined the concerns it had and the steps that have been taken to address these concerns.

The Commission found that the transaction would have created important vertical links between CMA CGM’s upstream container lining shipping activities on routes connecting Europe with Martinique, Guadeloupe, and French Guiana and Bolloré Logistics’ downstream sea freight forwarding activities in those territories.

It also said that the Commission found that CMA CGM could have the ability and incentive to favour Bolloré Logistics at the expense of rival freight forwarders, in particular in view of CMA CGM’s very high market shares on these overseas routes and the competitive structures in these territories.

The Commission further stated: “To address the Commission’s competition concerns, the parties offered to divest all of Bolloré Logistics’ activities in Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Martin, and French Guiana and a number of assets in metropolitan France linked to these activities.”

They also wrote in the approval, “These commitments fully address the competition concerns identified by the Commission, by removing the vertical link between CMA CGM’s container liner shipping activities and Bolloré Logistics’ sea freight transport activities in the concerned territories.”

“Following the positive feedback received in the context of the commitments’ market test, the Commission concluded that the transaction, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns,” it added.

In the course of its investigation, the Commission worked in cooperation with the competition authorities of French Polynesia and New Caledonia.

The approval is conditional upon full compliance with the commitments offered by the parties.