General Electric fined €52m by the EU Commission

The company intentionally provided incorrect information to the EU Body regarding the acquisition

Photo: EPA EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager

The European Commission has fined General Electric €52m for providing incorrect information during the Commission's investigation under the EU Merger Regulation of GE's planned acquisition of LM Wind.

The EU Merger Regulation obliges companies in a merger investigation to provide correct and non misleading information. Yet, on 11 January 2017, GE notified its proposed acquisition of LM Wind and in this notification, GE stated that it did not have any higher power output wind turbine for offshore applications in development, beyond its existing 6 megawatt turbine. The Commission's investigation, however, has confirmed that, contrary to GE's statements in its first notification, GE had been offering a higher power output offshore wind turbine to potential customers, more precisely a 12 megawatt one.

"Our merger assessment and decision-making can only be as good as the information that we obtain to support it. Accurate information is essential for the Commission to take competition decisions in full knowledge of the facts. The fine imposed today on General Electric is proof that the Commission takes breaches of the obligation for companies to provide us with correct information very seriously,” Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, commented.

This is the second time that the Commission has adopted a decision imposing fines on a company for provision of incorrect or misleading information since the entry into force of the 2004 Merger Regulation. In May 2017, the Commission fined Facebook €110m for providing incorrect or misleading information during the Commission's investigation under the EU Merger Regulation of Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp.

Past Commission decisions in this regard were adopted under the 1989 Merger Regulation in accordance with different fine-setting rules.

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