CZECH REPUBLIC: The European Commission announced on April 3 that PPF Group’s proposed acquisition of sole control of Škoda Transportation and related companies had been approved under the EU Merger Regulation.

Following an examination under the simplified merger review procedure, the Commission concluded that the transaction would raise no competition concerns, as there were ‘negligible’ overlaps between the companies’ activities in the European Economic Area.

'The European Commission’s approval is one of the significant conditions for completion of the whole business transaction’, a PPF spokesperson told Railway Gazette International, adding that completion is expected this month.

The approval covers the acquisition of Czech rolling stock and bus manufacturer Škoda Transportation, along with rail vehicle development, research and testing company VUKV; Škoda Investment which controls use of the Škoda trademark and is also active in photovoltaic power generation, IT and telecoms; Bammer Trade which is involved in vehicle repairs; Finnish company Jokiaura Kakkonen which is engaged in the renting of production facilities; and Satacoto of Cyprus which is the holding company for subsidiaries producing electric motors and generators.

Netherlands-registered PPF Group is run by Czech entrepreneur Petr Kellner. It was founded in 1991 and has assets totalling €35bn in multiple market segments including financial services, telecommunications, biotechnology, retail services, property and agriculture.

PPF had agreed the acquisition of Škoda Transportation from a group of Czech businessmen and senior managers on November 24-25 2017, subject to regulatory approval.