Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of LM Wind Power Holding by General Electric Company
The European Commission has approved unconditionally under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of LM Wind Power of Denmark, by General Electric Company of the US. The Commission concluded that the merged entity would continue to face effective competition in Europe.
General Electric produces onshore and offshore wind turbines. LM Wind Power designs and manufactures blades that are sold to General Electric and its competitors as a component for the wind turbines. The Commission's investigation focused on the effect of the transaction both on the upstream market for the manufacture and supply of wind turbine blades, as well on the downstream markets for the manufacture and supply of onshore and offshore wind turbines.
General Electric has a relatively small market share in both onshore and offshore wind turbines. Although LM Wind Power has a significant market share, its market position has been decreasing in the past few years and in-house blade production also has to be taken into account.
Based on the results of its market investigation, the Commission concluded that competitive concerns would be unlikely to arise after the transaction because:
- GE would not be in a position to significantly affect the upstream market. In particular since competing blade manufacturers would continue to have access to wind turbine manufacturers other than GE.
- In relation to the downstream markets, GE would continue to face significant competition from other major turbine manufacturers, such as Siemens, (MHI) Vestas, Nordex and Senvion, who either manufacture their blades in-house and/or are not dependent on LM Wind Power for supplies.
Therefore, the Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not result in a significant reduction in competition in the EU's Single Market.
Companies and products
General Electric is a global manufacturing, technology and services company that is made up of a number of business units. GE Renewable Energy is the business unit that produces wind turbines for onshore and offshore use on a global basis. It also services wind turbines, primarily for its own installed fleet.
LM Wind Power is active in the design, testing, manufacturing and supply of wind turbine blades, both in the EEA and worldwide.
Merger control rules and procedures
The transaction was notified to the Commission on 13 February 2017.
The Commission has the duty to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Article 1 of the Merger Regulation) and to prevent concentrations that would significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.
The vast majority of notified mergers do not pose competition problems and are cleared after a routine review. From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has a total of 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II).