U.S. conglomerate, General Electric (GE) is to pay a penalty of 52 million Euros (58 million dollars) for providing the European Union (EU) with incorrect information when it applied to acquire a wind turbine parts manufacturer in 2017.
The European Commission made this known in a statement on Monday by its Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager.
Vestager said: “This failure meant that the commission, the EU’s competition watchdog, did not have all the facts at its disposal when it reviewed the case.
“Our merger assessment and decision-making can only be as good as the information that we obtain to support it.”
When GE notified Brussels in January 2017 of its acquisition plans for LM Wind, the manufacturer, it claimed it did not have any higher power output wind turbine for offshore applications in development beyond its existing six-megawatt turbine.
“This claim was incorrect,’’ the commission noted, as it soon found out from a third party that GE was offering a 12-megawatt offshore wind turbine to potential customers.
GE withdrew its application and re-submitted it with full information in February.
The commission then approved the takeover in March, however it opened an investigation into the application process the following July.
“The fine announced Monday does not affect the underlying approval,’’ the commission noted, however it does reflect that a breach occurred during the application.
“The commission considers that GE, with whom it had continuous contacts during the merger review process, should have been aware of the relevance of the information for the commission’s assessment.
“Also it should have been aware of its obligations under the merger regulation,’’ the commission said.