EU's Almunia wants UPS to offer concessions on TNT bid

TRIER, Germany Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:16pm EDT

The emblem of of United Parcel Service (UPS) is seen at the cargo center at the Cologne/Bonn airport near Cologne November 1, 2010. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

The emblem of of United Parcel Service (UPS) is seen at the cargo center at the Cologne/Bonn airport near Cologne November 1, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Ina Fassbender

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TRIER, Germany (Reuters) - United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N) will have to offer concessions to secure regulatory approval for its 5.2 billion euro ($6.8 billion) bid for Dutch peer TNT Express (TNTE.AS), the European Union's antitrust chief said on Thursday.

The European Commission is examining the deal, the biggest in UPS's 105-year history, which will reinforce it as the world No. 1 package delivery company.

"We will send the statement of objections to UPS tomorrow," European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference organized by the Academy of European Law in Trier, Germany.

The statement of objections is the regulatory document detailing the Commission's worries about the impact of the deal on rivals and consumers. Reuters flagged the move last week.

"The objections need to be removed by remedies," he said.

Almunia declined to say what kind of concessions he was looking for. The EU competition watchdog typically favors asset sales, but can also consider licensing deals or concessions opening up networks.

A source told Reuters last week that UPS had not yet offered any concessions, preferring to wait until it receives the statement of objections. In some takeover cases companies have managed to overcome regulatory concerns without offering any concessions, but these are rare.

The executive European Commission is worried that the merger would leave only three big players, the other two being Deutsche Post's (DPWGn.DE) DHL and U.S.-based FedEx (FDX.N).

UPS argues, however, that its competitors also include national postal companies such as French mail group DPD and Royal Mail's GBPO.UL European express parcel service GLS, as well as freight forwarders like Swiss companies Kuehne & Nagel (KNIN.VX) and Panalpina (PWTN.S). ($1 = 0.7638 euros)

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Rex Merrifield)

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