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European Union fines GE 52 million euros in LM Wind merger case

GE

European Union on Monday announced that it has fined General Electric (GE) 52 million euros for providing incorrect information during a probe into its merger with LM Wind Power.

But the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said the decision, taken under competition rules, has no impact on its 2017 approval of the merger with the Danish supplier.

“The fine imposed today on General Electric is proof that the Commission takes breaches of the obligation for companies to provide us with correct information very seriously,” EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

The Commission said “an overall fine of 52 million euros ($58.4 million) is both deterrent and proportionate” calling GE’s breach of its obligations a “serious infringement”.

In January 2017, when GE notified the Commission of its merger plans, it said it was not developing any offshore wind turbine more powerful than an existing six megawatt turbine.

But the Commission said it had learned from a third party, which it did not identify, that GE was offering a 12-megawatt offshore wind turbine to potential customers.

General Electric subsequently withdrew its notification and resubmitted its plans with “complete information”, the Commission said.

The Commission approved the proposed acquisition on March 20, 2017.

It was the second time that Brussels fined a company for having supplied incorrect or misleading information.

In May 2017, the Commission fined the US social media network Facebook 110 million euros as part of its 2014 investigation into its acquisition of mobile telephone application WhatsApp.

Under EU merger rules, the Commission can impose fines of up to one percent of the aggregate turnover of companies which supply incorrect or misleading information.

Source: AFP

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