Following an extensive analysis of the relevant markets in
Germany and in Europe over a period of nearly 4 months, the BKartA
has prohibited the acquisition of Karmann GmbH's
("Karmann") European convertible roof systems business
(currently in insolvency) by the Canadian automotive component
supplier Magna International Inc. ("Magna").
The President of the BKartA, Andreas Mundt, stated: "The
merger between Magna and Karmann would have left only two major
suppliers of convertible roof systems European-wide in a market
which is already highly concentrated."
Currently, there are three producers of convertible roof systems
in Europe; Karmann, Magna and Webasto/Edscha. At the time of the
merger between Edscha and Webasto in 2009, then the number one and
number four suppliers of convertible roof systems respectively, the
BKartA remarked that any further consolidation on the market would
result in competition problems.
In the current case, the BKartA believes that further
consolidation would encourage parallel conduct and harm
competition. Existing market transparency would mean that
competitive 'thrusts' by one of the remaining companies
would be immediately recognised and directly sanctioned by its
competitor, thus rendering internal competition between them
unlikely. Further, new entrants are not expected as they would need
to have a minimum company size together with a great propensity to
invest as well as specialised experience.
With a total market volume in 2009 of €600 million, the
market for convertible roof systems in Europe is highly
concentrated and very transparent. There are no imports from Asia
or the USA and all car manufacturers purchase their convertible
roof systems from specialised suppliers, as it is uneconomical to
develop and manufacture their own. Volkswagen, which has previously
acquired a part of Karmann, has not shown any interest in acquiring
the convertible roof systems business as well.
The decision has been criticised by the leader of the German
Federal State of Lower Saxony, where 700 jobs are at stake, as well
as by the powerful union IG Metall (the metal and engineering
union). However, the BKartA remains of the view that Karmann's
convertible roof systems business has potential and has confirmed
that there are other serious bidders who are interested in
acquiring this business. CIE, a Spanish automotive component
supplier, has been named in the press as a possible interested
party. However, some of Karmann's larger customers such as BMW,
Mercedes and Renault have already signalled that they will withdraw
their orders, should the merger between Magna and Karmann not go
ahead as planned
To view Community Week, Issue 473, 28 May 2010 in full
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