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EU regulators to approve GE-Alstom deal: source

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The European Union will announce it has approved a deal under which General Electric will acquire the energy business of French company Alstom for US$12 billion, a source close to the transaction said on Monday.

[NEW YORK] The European Union will announce it has approved a deal under which General Electric will acquire the energy business of French company Alstom for US$12 billion, a source close to the transaction said on Monday.

In order to win the green light from the European Commission, GE has had to make concessions, the source said.

EU anti-trust regulators had expressed concern the deal could lead to too much concentration in the gas-turbine sector.

A formal announcement is expected Tuesday, the source said.

Approval would end months of uncertainty and tension over the proposed deal, part of a drive by the American conglomerate to stake more of its future on industrial operations.

The EU concerns centered mainly on possible distortions in the market for maintaining high-power gas turbines, used mainly in electricity generating plants.

This lucrative market is dominated by GE, Alstom and the German company Siemens. After initially putting up resistance, GE ultimately agreed to shed some maintenance service assets and patents to the Italian energy group Ansaldo, sources told AFP, confirming news reports.

With the same goal of focusing on industrial operations, GE is trying to sell its appliances business to Sweden's Electrolux for US$3.3 billion.

But the US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in July to block the Electrolux deal on grounds it would lead to higher prices of key cooking appliances for US consumers.

The GE-Alstom deal had already been approved by the boards of both companies and by the French government.

The announcement Tuesday will also involve a press conference by EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, the first source said.

Officials at the Commission and General Electric declined to an AFP request for comment.

AFP