(Updates with Embraer and Boeing negotiations)
BRUSSELS/SAO PAULO, April 22 (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators are now due to make a decision on a $4.2 billion deal between planemakers Boeing and Embraer on Aug. 7, a filing showed on Wednesday, once again pushing back the timeline on the proposed tie-up.
Late on Tuesday, Embraer said that in its original agreement with Boeing - which wants to buy 80% of the Brazilian planemaker’s commercial aircraft division - the two parties had agreed to close the deal no later than April 24.
Now they are discussing pushing that date further into the future, Embraer said, although that disclosure is expected to have little material effect given the regulatory scrutiny in Europe had already in practice pushed back that timeline.
Originally, both companies had said the deal would close no later than the first quarter of 2020.
The European Union said on Wednesday it had resumed its investigation into the deal, which had been halted since Feb. 24 while it waited for the companies to provide information it requested. That stopping of the clock ended on April 7, according to the filing. Sources said millions of documents have been provided in recent months.
The EU competition enforcer last October expressed concerns about the tie-up, saying it would remove Embraer as the third largest global competitor in the highly concentrated commercial aircraft industry, especially in single-aisle commercial planes.
Embraer’s commercial unit builds jetliners in the 70- to 150-seat segment and competes with the Canadian-designed A220 programme recently acquired by Europe’s Airbus.
The coronavirus crisis has sent Embraer’s shares tumbling more than 60% on a year-to-date basis while Boeing is facing a liquidity crisis.
Some analysts, Reuters reported last month, believe the deal could be in danger of falling apart either because Boeing may struggle to come up with the cash or because Embraer’s market valuation has fallen so much that the initial pricing may not make sense anymore to the U.S. planemaker.
Brazil’s competition watchdog has already approved the deal, which has garnered backing from some of the world’s largest aircraft buyers. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee and Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by David Evans and Paul Simao)
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