The Slovenia Times

Brussels clears Slovenian-Czech rail joint venture


Brussels - The European Commission has approved, under the EU merger regulation, the acquisition of joint control over a joint venture created by the Slovenian rail operator Slovenske Železnice (SŽ) and Czech EP Logistics International (EPLI) to be active in intermodal rail freight transport.

The Slovenian rail operator and EPLI, which offers rail freight transport services in several EU countries, plan to create a new joint venture which will be composed of SŽ - Tovorni promet and Fersped, which both currently belong to SŽ.

SŽ-TP offers conventional and intermodal rail freight transport and accompanying logistic services related to rail transport predominantly in Slovenia and, to a smaller extent, in Austria and Croatia. Fersped provides freight forwarding services in Slovenia.

In a press release on Wednesday, the Commission said it had concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns, because of the limited impact it would have on the market, as the companies' activities were mainly complementary since they focused on different member states.

The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure.

The Czech company EPLI is part of EP Holding, a leading energy company with EUR 16.7 billion in assets and EUR 8.6 billion in sales revenue, SŽ said in October 2020 when announcing the partnership. The holding generated EUR 2.1 billion in earnings before amortisation and interest in 2019.

EP Holding was selected as the SŽ's strategic partner in freight transport and logistics in a selection process managed in cooperation with external consulting companies since 2017. The Czech company will have 49% in the joint venture and the Slovenians will have 51%.

The goal of the strategic partnership is to create a logistics leader in Southeast Europe, comprising Slovenia, North Italy, Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and the rest of the Balkans.


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