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Brussels OKs HDW Sale To US Bank (May 31)



The European Commission has authorised the proposed acquisition of the German submarine producer Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) by the American banking company Bank One Corporation.

The Commission's investigation confirmed that the operation will not create anti-competitive effects, as the transaction will not result in any overlaps between the parties' activities in the European Union. The Commission's careful investigation has also failed to establish any links between Bank One and any US defence group with respect to the acquisition of HDW nor were there any indications that other companies were involved in the financing of the acquisition.

Bank One Corporation is a multibank holding company, which provides retail banking, finance and credit card services in the United States. It also provides worldwide commercial banking services as well as trust and investment management services. Through its investment and venture capital units, Bank One controls companies in a range of other sectors such as metal and mineral wholesale, the manufacturing of measuring instruments and rubber working machinery and equipment.

Germany's HDW is one of the leading producers of conventionally powered submarines in the world. It also manufactures naval surface vessels and conducts conversion and repairs of both submarine and naval vessels. Furthermore, HDW manufactures ferries, containerships, yards, cruise ships and supplies conversion and repairs of merchant vessels. The present shareholders of HDW are Babcock Borsig, Preussag and BayernFinanz.

Under an agreement notified to the Commission on April 25 for regulatory clearance under the European Union's Merger Regulation, Bank One will, through its wholly-owned subsidiary HDW Holding, acquire 75% minus one share in HDW. The remaining shares will be held by Babcock Borsig.

As usual, the Commission carefully examined the companies' activities in the EU and concluded to the absence of overlaps, given that neither Bank One nor its subsidiaries are present in any of HDW's sector activities in the Union.

In the course of the review, the Commission also carefully examined whether Bank One was linked to any US defence group or whether the acquisition was being financed by companies other Bank One, but it could not establish any such links.

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Commission Clears Take-Over of German Shipbuilder HDW by US's Bank One Corporation