The European Commission (EC) said the aborted UPS and TNT merger would have increased prices and would not have been challenged enough by other carriers.

The regulator officially blocked the merger from taking place on 30 January, claiming it would have restricted competition for express delivery between European countries in 15 nations.

It also said that the acquisition would have reduced the number of “significant players” to two in some countries, which it claimed would have “likely harmed customers by causing price increases”.

Commission vice president for competition policy Joaquín Almunia said: “Many businesses active in the EU Single Market need to send small packages to another European country with guaranteed delivery on the next day. This requires access to affordable, reliable services that truly fit their needs. These businesses would have been directly harmed by the takeover of TNT by UPS because it would have drastically reduced choice between providers and probably led to price increases.”

The EC said it would reduce the number of “integrators”, firms that control international air and ground parcel delivery networks, from four to three. It claimed competition from FedEx was not sufficient because of the “lack of density and scale of its European network”, sometimes leaving DHL as the only alternative to UPS.

It claimed that competition from other parcel carriers would not be great enough because they “do not reach comparable efficiency or reliability, given their heavy reliance on road rather than air transport”.

UPS offered to sell some of TNT’s business in the 15 countries where competition was a concern, but the regulator claimed this was “inadequate”. UPS pulled out of the deal on 14 January.

Almunia said: “ We worked hard with UPS on possible remedies until very late in the procedure, but what they offered was simply not enough to address the serious competition problems we identified".