EUROPE – The European Commission has raided pan-European exchange Euronext and other financial services companies as part of an antitrust probe.

“The Commission confirms that it has launched an own-initiative antitrust probe in the financial services sector,” the Commission said in a statement.

Assisted by national competition authorities, it made “simultaneous unannounced inspections” at the premises of Euronext and “certain financial services companies in Paris, Amsterdam and London”. It did not name the companies.

“The purpose of the inspections is to ascertain whether there is evidence establishing a breach of European competition rules,” the statement said.

“This inspection concerns the fee rebates and incentives related to the trading of Dutch securities on Euronext,” said Euronext. “Euronext is cooperating fully with the inspection and is entirely confident about its outcome.”

Euronext spokeswoman Antoinette Darpy declined to provide more details, saying: “Only the European Commission can answer your questions.”

The Commission said the move was “only an initial step in an antitrust investigation” and concerns business practises – not trading operations.

Euronext was formed in 2000 through the merger of the Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris exchanges - LIFFE and Portugal’s BVLP joined in 2002.