May 22, 2017 / 3:00 PM / in 6 months

GE faces EU probe related to LM Wind Power deal

(Reuters) - General Electric Co said on Monday that the European Union’s competition watchdog is investigating whether the industrial conglomerate provided misleading information during a merger review.

“On March 9, 2017, the European Commission notified us that they were opening a proceeding to evaluate possible infringements by the company in their submissions regarding the LM Wind Power transaction,” GE said in a statement.

“Since that point, there has been no further formal communication from the commission to GE regarding the proceedings. The LM Wind Power transaction was approved by Brazil, China, the U.S. and the EC, and the deal closed on April 20, 2017.”

GE said it is cooperating with the investigation.

In October GE announced plans to buy LM Wind Power, a maker of wind turbine rotor blades based in Denmark, from private equity firm Doughty Hanson for $1.65 billion. GE is aiming to capture a bigger share of the fast-growing renewable energy market. The EU had cleared the deal in March.

The company told the regulators that it did not have any plans to develop a new giant offshore wind turbine but the EU started to suspect that it had been misled shortly after the deal was approved, according to Bloomberg news, which first reported the EU’s investigation.

The probe could lead to GE facing a penalty of up to 1 percent of its annual sales for breaking the EU’s rules among other actions, Bloomberg said.

The EU fined Facebook Inc 110 million euros ($122 million) in May for providing misleading information during a vetting of its deal to acquire messaging service WhatsApp in 2014.

Reporting by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru, Alwyn Scott in Seattle and Foo Yun Chee in Brussels; Editing by Martina D'Couto and Phil Berlowitz

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