Generator Makers Face EU Probe Over Merger

     BRUSSELS (CN) – The European Commission said it is expanding an investigation into the acquisition of German firm MWM Holding GmbH by industrial equipment company Caterpillar Inc.

     The European Union’s executive branch expressed several concerns over the merger’s potential effects on competition in the European Economic Area.
     Both companies are leading generator suppliers in Europe. A merger could affect technological innovation, prices, installation and servicing of gas-fuelled generator sets, or gensets, the commission said in a statement.
     German, Austrian and Slovakian competition authorities referred the case to the Europe-wide body. The commission recently approved Caterpillar’s acquisition of Bucyrus, a mining equipment company. Both firms are based in the United States.
     The commission determined Bacyrus has too low of a European market share to affect competition there, as it doesn’t even sell mining trucks – the focus of the investigation – on the European market.
     Most mergers are approved by the commission after an initial “Phase I” investigation consisting of about a month. The results of the commission’s more in-depth investigation into the acquisition of MWM by the world’s largest maker of earth-moving machinery should be available by mid-September.
     The commission currently has only two other “Phase II” merger probes underway, one of which concerns SC Johnson’s proposed acquisition of Sara Lee’s household insect-control business.
     Caterpillar lost out on a previous effort to acquire MWM in 2007.

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