The European Commission (EC) has approved the acquisition of Swiss firm Financiere Ermewa by French national railway SNCF’s logistics and transport unit Transport et Logistique Partenaires (TLP).

The approval is on the condition that Ermewa’s European business involving axial hopper wagon hire for cereal transportation and its involvement in the organisation of cereal transport by rail are divested.

This follows EC concerns that the deal would reduce competition in this sector in France, Italy, the Benelux and parts of Germany.

Ermewa, which is involved in freight wagon hire, organisation of transport (mainly cereals) and tank container hire in several EU member states, is jointly owned by TLP and Citerne Invest group.

The company manages a fleet of 21,000 freight railcars and 40,000 tank containers, employs 515 people in 20 countries and reported 2008 earnings of $174m and revenue of $542m.