DJ EU Almunia: 'Substantial Remedies' Needed for UPS/TNT Merger
Nov 02, 2012 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) --BRUSSELS--There is a need for "substantial remedies" before clearance of the merger of United Parcel Service Inc (UPS) and TNT Express NV (TNTE.AE) can be given by European authorities, the European Union's competition chief said Friday.
In a speech at a conference in Cernobbio, Italy, European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia gave a brief update on several of the larger cases he is handling.
He said the Commission is reviewing Hutchison's (0013.HK) takeover of France Telecom SA's (FTE) Orange Austria unit and the merger of UPS and TNT.
"Our preliminary view is that serious competition concerns would arise in both cases and substantial remedies are needed," he said. He gave no further details.
The EU said in early October it was launching an in-depth probe of the UPS/TNT merger amid fears it could squeeze out competition in the express delivery market in Europe.
Mr. Almunia also said his office will decide "soon" on Glencore's (GLEN.LN) plan to acquire Xstrata (XTA.LN). The companies presented remedies to the EU earlier this week. The Commission has said it will take a decision by Nov. 22.
The commissioner also said his office will "decide in a few days" whether to allow Finnish steel company Outokumpu (OUT1V.HE) to buy Inoxum, the stainless steel division of ThyssenKrupp AG (TYEKY).
Mr. Almunia also raised the possibility that the Commission could seek a role in vetting any transaction that gives a firm a noncontrolling minority stake in another company, if it raises the threat of "significant harm to competition."
Currently, the Commission is limited to reviewing acquisitions of controlling stakes.
"I intend to launch a public consultation to discuss these options. My preliminary preference would be to go for a selective system and identify the cases which prima facie can raise competition problems," he said.
-Write to Laurence Norman at Laurence.Norman@dowjones.com
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