The competition policeman closes the Bouygues-Equans investigation
The Competition and Markets Authority has closed its investigation into the acquisition by French industrial giant Bouygues of construction services company Equans for 6.1 billion euros.
Bouygues agreed to acquire Equans from fellow Frenchman Engie in November for an initial price of 6.5 billion euros, which, taking into account net debt, resulted in a final purchase price of 6, 1 billion euros.
This merger was the largest acquisition in Bouygues’ history and would make Bouygues one of the world leaders in multi-technical services.
The deal was officially closed in October and the UK competition watchdog closed its investigation into whether the merger would lead to unfair competition last week.
The CMA launched its investigation in July, fearing the merger would lead to a “lessening of competition” within a specialist sector of the UK construction market.
Probing the potential for what is called a “substantial lessening of competition”, the watchdog asked both parties to commit that competition would not be affected. In particular, she highlighted the work on HS2 as a source of concern.
Subsidiaries of Bouygues and Equans competed as two of four bidders for HS2’s £300million overhead cable contract. In August, the holidays agreed to withdraw one of the offers.
On August 2, the CMA indicated that commitments to withdraw a bid “could” be accepted by the body as addressing its concerns.
According to the latest report from the CMA, Bouygues and Equans agreed at the beginning of the year for an independent third party to evaluate the offers submitted under the HS2 call for tenders by Colas Rail and the joint- Quick venture to determine which of the offers was “most cost effective for HS2”. Ltd”.
The French company Ingerop was responsible for evaluating the offers, the two parties agreeing not to carry out the merger operation or withdraw any of their offers until the objective third party has notified its evaluation.
This week it was confirmed that the Rapide joint venture had been removed from the bidding process.
The £300 million aerial cable contract will include the design, manufacture, supply, installation and additional testing of aerial systems. It should cover over 360 miles of trail.
The CMA closed its case on November 15.
Commenting on the merger when it was finalized in October, Bouygues Chairman Martin Bouygues said: “The acquisition of Equans is a major milestone in the history of Bouygues.
“This makes our group a world leader in multi-technical services and strengthens our resilience.
“Our companies have in common that they are service companies with a local footprint, run by teams of dedicated and autonomous entrepreneurs and employees. I warmly welcome the 75,000 Equans employees who are joining our group.