The European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of the inland water transport business of the Italian company Pagnan by US food group Cargill.

“Although Pagnan is the only business operating inland water transport services for dry bulk cargo in Italy, other companies will be able to compete effectively if the market conditions render inland water transport competitive with road/rail transport for dry bulk products. The Commission has concluded that the proposed transaction will not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any part of it,” a statement from the EC said.

It added that there are no horizontal overlaps between the parties as Cargill does not own any assets relating to inland water transport of agricultural commodities in Italy or elsewhere in the EEA. However, as Cargill is active in several upstream and downstream markets in the import and trading of agricultural commodities, the Commission examined whether the transaction may give rise to concerns in certain of these related markets.

“Currently, Pagnan uses its barges to their full capacity in providing inland water transport services to Cargill and, therefore, it does not offer these services to third parties. The envisaged transaction would therefore have no impact on this activity,” the EC said.

Francis De Rosa, Cargill spokesman, told just-food that the company intends to use the inland waterways to transport dry bulk agricultural products.

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“The acquisition will enable us to better serve our regional customers and is an extension of out current agricultural distribution business in Italy,” he said.