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Global Economy

Competition concerns: EU bans Hyundai-Daewoo shipbuilding merger

The EU Commission has prohibited the planned merger between the shipyard divisions of the South Korean groups Daewoo and Hyundai.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager explained that the merger of the companies would have led to dominance in the world market for the construction of large liquid gas tankers. European transport companies depend on these tankers. The consequences of the merger would be higher prices and less competition, Vestager said in Brussels.

She continued: “About a quarter of the EU’s total energy consumption is natural gas, most of which is imported, including in liquid form. The product at the heart of today’s decision is an essential part of the LNG supply chain, as large LNG carriers bring their cargo to Europe from various production areas.”

The EU Commission had already expressed its concerns in 2019. Vestager said there were no countermeasures by the South Koreans.

Hyundai and Daewoo criticized the focus on market share. This alone is not an appropriate indicator of market power in shipbuilding.

Hyundai is considering taking action against the merger ban. Because the global market is affected by the plan, the competition watchdogs in the EU and several countries have to agree.

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