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EU regulators concerned about Siemens, Alstom rail merger, to probe further

Reuters  |  BRUSSELS 

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - and Alstom's plan to create a Franco-German rail champion could reduce competition and lead to higher fares for travellers, EU antitrust regulators said on Friday as they opened a full-scale investigation into the deal.

German group and French rival announced the planned rail merger in September last year, an breakthrough for French which, however, has triggered criticism from opposition politicians.

said the tie-up would protect jobs but critics fear French loss of control of the iconic TGV high-speed train. The combined TGV and Siemens' ICE-high-speed trains, and signalling and would have 15.3 billion euros ($17.8 billion) in turnover.

The companies are looking to the deal to stave off the competitive threat from bigger rival CRRC and Canada's

The said the merged company, a global leader with three times the market share of its closest rival, was unlikely to be constrained by competitors.

The investigation will examine whether the deal would deprive European rail operators of a choice of suppliers and lead to higher prices for the millions of Europeans who use every day for work or leisure, said.

The EU competition enforcer also dismissed Siemens' arguments regarding CRRC, saying potential Chinese suppliers were unlikely to enter the market for rolling stock and signalling in the foreseeable future.

It set a Nov. 21 deadline to decide whether to clear the deal. The companies can offer concessions to address regulatory concerns.

($1 = 0.8574 euros)

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Elaine Hardcastle)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, July 13 2018. 21:19 IST