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Wednesday 15 November, 2000

Dept.Trade&Industry

Stmnt re NEG/Prism Rail

Dept Trade & Industry
15 November 2000


ACQUISITION BY NATIONAL EXPRESS OF PRISM RAIL

Stephen Byers, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, has
today published draft undertakings in relation to the acquisition
by National Express Group (NEG) of Prism Rail.  He wishes to give
interested parties the opportunity to comment on the text of the
undertakings before taking a final decision on whether to accept
them in lieu of referring the merger to the Competition
Commission.

Mr Byers said:

'On 18 September I announced that I agreed with the advice of the
then Director General of Fair Trading (DGFT) that NEG should give
undertakings with respect to the price and quality of its coach
services on the London-Stansted route.

The DGFT has advised me that the text of the undertakings to be
sought from NEG should, subject to this public consultation, be in
the form that I am publishing today.   Before I reach a final
decision in this case, interested parties should make any
representations on the text to the Office of Fair Trading by
5.00pm on 29 November 2000.'

Notes for Editors

1.   Section 75G of the Fair Trading Act (inserted by section 147
of the Companies Act 1989 and amended by the Deregulation and
Contracting Out Act 1994) enables the Secretary of State for Trade
and Industry to accept undertakings as an alternative to making a
merger reference to the Competition Commission.   The Secretary of
State must consider whether such undertakings remedy specific
adverse effects of the merger specified by the DGFT.

2.   Interested parties who wish to make representations on the
text of the undertakings should do so in writing by 5.00pm, on 29
November 2000 to Mr Mike Potts, Office of Fair Trading, Fleetbank
House, 2-6 Salisbury Square, LONDON EC4Y 8JX (Fax: 020 7211 8916).
The Secretary of State has asked the DGFT to advise him further,
in the light of the consultation, by 13 December 2000.

3.   For non-media enquiries, full texts of the draft undertakings
- 8 pages -  are available from Trevor Kenny, Competition Policy
Directorate, DTI (Telephone:   020 7215 5759,  fax:  020 7215
6565).   Media copies are available from the DTI Newsroom on 020
7215 5961.