The deal between the two French-owned companies, announced in June last year, aimed to create a major European player in the sector with combined sales of £1.09bn.
Petit Forestier’s bid to buy Fraikin hit the buffers after the French Competition Authority raised concerns that the deal would create “a quasi-monopoly” giving Petit Forestier a 90% market share of France’s refrigerated vehicle rental market, leading to price rises for corporate customers.
The French Competition Authority asked Petit Forestier to commit to sell off some of the combined offices, fleet and contracts to ensure competition in the sector. Petit Forestier has 228 depots in Europe and the Maghreb region with 42,700 vehicles, while Fraikin has 180 depots and around 57,000 vehicles.
Despite submitting what Petit Forestier described as “significant measures” to meet these demands in late December last year, the French Competition Authority rejected them as “insufficient.”
In a statement this week Petit Forestier said: “On that basis, Petit Forestier has decided not to complete this transaction.”
Yves Forestier, chairman, added: “We have made our best efforts to obtain the [French Competition Authority’s] approval while complying with our values. We are sorry that the Authority did not agree with our last proposal”.
In a statement this week, the authority said: “The French Competition Authority, which has just opened a detailed examination phase in the context of the acquisition of the Fraikin Group by the Petit Forestier group, notes the decision of Petit Forestier to abort. The operation would have led to the creation of a virtual monopoly.”