The European Commission on Monday gave the green light to the sale of the European division of Lufthansa’s catering business (LSG) to the Swiss company Gategroup, an operation that is however conditioned on the buyer giving up a series of activities to avoid that occupies a space of almost monopoly in the aerial catering sector.
The preliminary investigation of Brussels, who was notified of the operation last February, showed the risk of monopoly because after the operation there would be only one viable competitor in on-board catering at the airports of Brussels, Berlin-Tegel, Paris Charles-de -Gaulle and Fiumicino’s in Rome.
The Community Executive also took into account in its examination of the purchase – which does not affect sales activities on board – the barriers that already exist to enter the airline catering sector and make it very difficult for airlines to change their supplier, as explained by the institution in a statement.
This being the case, Gategroup has committed to cede overlapping activities to allow the entry or expansion of other catering providers on board at airports where Brussels saw competition problems.
The concessions have to do both with contracts already signed with clients and with the assignment of infrastructures such as elevator-lifts, staff and other assets.
The Community Executive has concluded that with these commitments the risks to competition are eliminated, therefore authorizing the purchase conditional on compliance with them.