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Wednesday 17 January, 2001


Stmnt re NEG/Prism Rail

Dept Trade & Industry
17 January 2001


Stephen Byers, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry,
today announced that he has accepted undertakings from
National Express Group plc (NEG) in relation to its
acquisition of Prism Rail plc.

Mr Byers said:

'On 15 November,  I published for consultation draft
undertakings to address competition concerns relating to
this merger.    The Director General of Fair Trading
(DGFT) has now submitted to me undertakings offered by
the National Express Group having taken account of the
comments made during the consultation period.

The DGFT has advised me that, in his view, undertakings
in the form proposed should remedy or prevent the adverse
effects that might result from the merger.   I agree with
the DGFT's advice.    Accordingly, I have decided to
accept the undertakings from NEG in lieu of a reference
to the Competition Commission.    I am publishing the
undertakings and the DGFT's advice as I am required to

Note for Editors

1.   Section 75G of the Fair Trading Act 1973 (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
or prevent adverse effects of the merger specified by the

2.   On 15 November 2000, the Secretary of State
published for consultation draft undertakings and invited
interested parties to comment on them  (DTI Press Notice

3.   For non-media enquirers, full texts of the
undertakings now accepted, and the DGFT's advice, are
available from Trevor Kenney, Competition Policy
Directorate, DTI (Tel:  020 7215 5759; Fax:  020 7215
6565; email:   Media copies
are available from the DTI Newsroom (Tel: 020 7215 5961).

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