The planned US$1.8 billion acquisition by Hyundai Heavy Industries of a controlling stake in South Korean compatriot Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) is officially off after the European Commission late last week blocked the deal on anti-competition grounds, forcing the latter’s majority shareholder to reconsider its options.

“The merger… would have led to a dominant position in the global market for the construction of large liquefied natural gas vessels, for which there is significant demand from European carriers,” said European Commission executive vice president Margrethe Vestager.