The European Commission has given the go-ahead for aerospace supplier Safran to acquire seating and cabin interior company Zodiac Aerospace. The Commission approved the merger unconditionally, saying it raised no competition concerns.

“Both Safran and Zodiac are significant French actors in the aeronautics markets but competition in these markets in Europe will remain strong,” European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who holds the competition policy portfolio, said in the Dec. 21 ruling. “We can green light this transaction and the emergence of a strong European player with our EU merger rules.”

The Commission carried out a broad investigation of multiple market sectors in which the companies are active.

Both companies, for example, supply aircraft electrical systems. However, the Commission found no serious competition concerns because the increase in market shares resulting from the transaction would be “very limited,” and the merged entity would continue to face strong competition from other established suppliers.

On markets where the two companies are active at different stages of the supply chain—for example, as suppliers of landing gears and wiring systems or related components, the Commission found that the merged company would not have the ability or incentive to foreclose third parties.

The Commission also concluded the merged company would not shut out rivals supplying a narrower range of products.

Zodiac has had a troubled recent history; delays in supplying items of cabin equipment, notably seating, led to a sharp rebuke from one of its major customers, Airbus. It has since said it is on the road to recovery.

Zodiac Aerospace is active in the development and manufacture of electrical and wiring systems, as well as onboard systems such as seats and galley inserts.

Safran has a wide-ranging portfolio of products, including an aerospace propulsion business that develops and manufactures aircraft engines, as well as helicopter turbine engines. The company also supplies landing systems, wheels and brakes, nacelles, electrical systems and wiring systems.

Alan Dron