EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY, 26 August 2002

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TUI WINS RIGHT TO FULL CONTROL OF NOUVELLES FRONTIÈRES

EUROPEAN TRAVEL POLICY, 26 August 2002

German travel company TUI just got bigger again. The European Commission today ruled that it can acquire sole control of Nouvelles Frontières, the French company active in active in tour operating, charter airlines, distribution, hotels, cruises, and car rental.

Since 2000, TUI has already held around 30% of Nouvelles Frontières’ capital and voting rights, but it is now exercising an exclusive option to buy the remaining shares from the company’s founder, Jacques Maillot – who has 41.92% – and from a number of minority shareholders.

The Commission has run a new check on the possible impact on competition in the European holiday market from this move, but – as in its 2000 check when TUI gained joint control – it has found there are only minor overlaps, and only in Belgium. "The transaction does not lead to a significant increase in market share", the Commission has concluded.

The Commission’s belief that the deal will not materially affect the structure of the Belgian market or the degree of competition there results from two factors, it explains: that TUI already has joint control of Nouvelles Frontières; and that TUI’s market share will increase by far less than ten per cent. TUI will also face competition from NUR Touristic Benelux and First Choice via Bosphorus and Club Mediterranee, as well as a large number of smaller tour operators, the Commission adds in its explanation of its decision.

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