January 3, 2012 / 9:51 AM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 2-Austria watchdog clears IPIC plan to up OMV stake

* Competition Authority gets no objections to IPIC plan

* Austrian government would still need to approve bigger stake

* OMV shares up 0.3 pct (Adds Economy Ministry comment, updates shares)

VIENNA, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Austria’s competition watchdog has cleared Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund IPIC’s plan to raise its stake in energy group OMV to at least 25 percent, the agency said on Tuesday.

IPIC informed the Austrian Competition Authority last month of its plan. Parties potentially affected by the move had until Jan. 2 to comment.

“We did not issue a review application yesterday so it has been cleared,” a spokesman for the agency said.

The approval covers potential cartel concerns. Under Austrian law, IPIC as a non-European investor would still need government approval to increase its OMV stake above 25 percent.

A spokesman for the federal economy ministry said IPIC had filed such a request. The ministry had a month to decide whether to approve it or to launch an in-depth review which could last up to two months more.

IPIC had already raised its stake in OMV to 24.9 percent in October, calling the Vienna-based group a “cornerstone” of its portfolio. Austrian state holding company OeIAG holds a 31.5 stake in OMV and coordinates with IPIC any changes in stakes.

OMV declined comment.

Its shares firmed 0.3 percent to 24.095 euros by 1610 GMT, in line with Austria’s blue-chip ATX index. (Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)

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