The European Commission has opened Monday, February 23 thoroughly investigate the proposed sale of the energy division of Alstom to US General Electric (GE), believing that this operation at 12 billion euros could pose problems competition in the market for high-power gas turbines.
“competition issues may arise in the market for high-power gas turbines, mainly used in gas plants. The meet operation the activities of GE and Alstom, squeezing out of the market one of the three major GE’s competitors in the world, “said the Commission in a statement.
Guardian of competition in Europe, the Commission is concerned that this operation does not lead to higher prices, reduced choice for consumers and less innovation in the sector.
“The technology is crucial to enable Europe to meet its environmental commitments and will remain in the future. It is therefore essential to maintain competition, “said the European Commissioner in charge of these files, Margrethe Vestager, said in the statement.
The opening of an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the the outcome of the procedure. The Commission, which cooperates on this issue with the US Department of Justice, now has until July 8 to adopt a decision.
At the preliminary stage, the Commission nourishes concerns concerning the sale and maintenance of high-power gas turbines, a concentrated market with only four global competitors. GE, Alstom, Siemens and Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (PSAM)
50 % market share
If successful, the operation in question oust Alstom market and the merged entity would have high market shares, of the order of about 50% to both in Europe and globally, with the exception of China, said the EU executive.
However, the Commission does not see at this stage of problems “in terms of equipment energy production for coal plants and nuclear power plants, wind and hydro, or for power transmission equipment. “
The French government gave its formal green light in November redemption to 12.35 billion euros from the energy division (70% of activities) of French industrial flagship, after long and hard negotiations with Alstom and GE in the spring of 2014. This should lead to the transformation of a company Alstom dedicated transport, a sector that the judge most promising group.