Acciona cleared to take stake in Spanish open access company ILSA

SPAIN: Competition authority CNMC has granted approval for infrastructure construction group Acciona to acquire a controlling stake in open access passenger service promoter Intermodalidad de Levante, which was founded by Valencia-based regional airline Air Nostrum.

ISLA is developing plans to launch a passenger service between Madrid in Spain and Montpellier in France, taking advantage of the EU’s liberalisation of the international passenger market.

Announcing its decision on January 24, CNMC said the acquisition would not significantly affect competition. ILSA has not yet launched and thus currently lacks market share; the deal would potentially increase competition in the rail sector by reinforcing the new entrant’s capital and allowing it to draw on Acciona’s experience.

The size of Acciona’s stake in ILSA, the involvement of other partners and the timing of the start of operations is still to be decided.

ILSA’s proposed service was approved by CNMC in September 2018, after the authority concluded that international travel was the main objective, although it would also compete head-to-head with Spanish incumbent RENFE for domestic travel between Madrid, Zaragoza and Barcelona. 

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