Suez-GDF merger: EU has 'a couple of remedies'

15th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

NEW YORK, Sept 15, 2006 (AFP) - European competition commissioner Neelie Kroes said here Thursday the mooted merger between energy groups Suez and Gaz de France would require "a couple of remedies" to meet her approval.

NEW YORK, Sept 15, 2006 (AFP) - European competition commissioner Neelie Kroes said here Thursday the mooted merger between energy groups Suez and Gaz de France would require "a couple of remedies" to meet her approval.

"In itself, we are not against a big merger" but "there need to be a couple of remedies" if the groups want to get the green light from the European competition services, Kroes told the annual antitrust conference at New York's Fordham University.

"We have opened an in-depth inquiry which clearly indicates that the operation poses competition problems," she told AFP. "However, that does not necessarily mean that the Commission will finally take a negative decision."

Kroes went on: "We are in contact with the two companies so that they propose to us changes to their integration sufficient to restore a healthy competition on the concerned energy markets."

Suez and GDF have until September 20 to propose "remedies" to the European Commission which is examining problems of competition raised in France and Belgium by the proposed merger. The Commission will then have until mid-November to authorize or ban the marriage.

The French government is proposing to reduce the state holding in GDF to 34 percent to facilitate the planned merger but the measure is opposed by the left-wing opposition, which has tabled a record 137,000 amendments in a bid to stall the bill's passage through parliament.

The National Assembly in Paris late Thursday suspended its work on the privatization measure and was due to resume on Friday morning, but the going was slow given the number of amendments.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

 

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