Renewed attack on rolling stock leasing companies (again)

Article in The Times reporting that the Department for Transport has asked ORR to investigate rail rolling stock leasing companies, and in particular their profits from leasing pre-privatisation passenger vehicles, under the Enterprise Act 2002. This could lead to agreed undertakings or to an investigation by the Competition Commission.

The article does not claim that rolling stock companies' charges might be unfair under the Competition Act 1998 or Article 82, or identify any potential undue restrictions on competition that might underpin the current level of prices. Instead it seems that the Government wishes to claw back the profits made by rolling stock companies solely on the grounds that it thinks that they are unexpectedly high.

Related claims had appeared in the press in January 2006. Since then, ORR has published its approach to reviewing markets, which includes a description of its proposed process for market investigations under the Enterprise Act 2002.

Update, 12.30 pm: ORR statement confirming receipt of the Department's complaint and announcing an initial study, which is to report by end October 2006 on the potential need for a longer market review, a reference to the Competition Commission and/or for an investigation into potential infringements of the Competition Act 1998.

For further information or advice please contact Franck Latrémolière.

Filed under DfT, ORR, Public transport.

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