The Norwegian Competition Authority has decided to prohibit Icelandic shippowner Eimskip from acquiring Norway’s Nor Lines.
The authority said the acquisition would significantly impede effective competition in the market for transportation of frozen fish with reefer vessels from Northern Norway to Northern Europe.
Lars Sørgard, director general of the authority, stated: “The Competition Authority is obligated to block acquisitions that harm competition. Eimskip and Nor Lines are close competitors and collectively hold a substantial market share in today’s market.”
“Our assessment is that an acquisition would result in reduced competition, which would make it possible for Eimskip to increase prices or reduce quality for its customers,” added acting director Øyvind Nilssen.
Eimskip entered into an agreement to acquire Nor Lines in November 2016 for a price of around EUR15m ($16.6m). Nor Lines operates a fleet of seven cargo vessels, five of which Eimskip will take over to strengthen its combined service network between Norway, continental Europe and the Baltic Sea.
In reaching its decision, the authority said it had collected substantial information from the parties, other shipping companies, road transportation undertakings, harbours and customers in the market.
The decision is subject to appeal to the newly established Competition Appeals Board.