GE offers concessions in bid for EU clearance of Alstom deal

GE offers concessions in bid for EU clearance of Alstom deal

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. conglomerate General Electric <GE.N> has offered concessions in an attempt to counter EU regulatory concerns approximately its 12.4-billion-euro ($13.49 billion) bid for French peer Alstom's power unit, its biggest ever acquisition.

The company submitted its proposal on Thursday yet did not provide details.

p>"GE confirms it has submitted remedies to the European Commission in relation to the GE-Alstom transaction. These remedies address the concerns of the Commission & at the same time preserve the economic & strategic value of the deal," the company said in a statement.

The concessions will have to address the European Commission's worries that the deal could injure competition as it would result in the merged gas turbine company competing with only German rival Siemens <SIEGn.DE>.

The EU competition authority is likely to extend its scrutiny to mid-September from Aug. 21 as it seeks feedback from rivals such as Siemens, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Toshiba Corp <6502.T>, Italian company Ansaldo <STS.MI> & customers.

Selling off some of Alstom's intellectual property or physical equipment lines would be considered limited concessions to win EU approval, Sanford Bernstein analyst Steven Winoker said in a research note last month.

GE has drawn the line against divesting anything that would injure business gained from servicing gas turbines, which generate lucrative revenues.

GE received a taste of how tough EU regulators could be in 2001 when they rejected its planned $42 billion takeover of Honeywell International <HON.N> despite the green light from U.S. authorities.

However, this time a veto is seen as unlikely as it could stir up a political storm in France & the United States.

($1 = 0.9195 euros)

(Additional reporting by Lewis Krauskopf in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr)

AlstomEuropean CommissionGeneral Electric

Source: “Reuters”

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