January 7, 2009 / 8:38 AM / 10 years ago

Spain's CNC backs energy, airline mergers -paper

MADRID, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Spanish competition regulator CNC plans to approve Gas Natural’s GAS.MC bid for power utility Union Fenosa UNF.MC and airline Vueling’s VULG.MC merger with Clickair, La Vanguardia newspaper said on Wednesday.

The CNC, which has the final say on merger decisions in Spain, will approve both deals in January with conditions, the Barcelona-based daily newspaper said, citing sources close to the CNC.

No one at the competition regulator was available for comment.

The CNC initially opposed Gas Natural’s 16 billion euro ($21.4 billion) bid to create an integrated gas and electricity utility by acquiring Fenosa, but now the regulator believes the tie-up must go ahead, La Vanguardia cited the sources as saying.

The European Commission is due on Friday to either approve the merger of Vueling with Clickair or let the CNC decide, as the Spanish have requested.

If approved, the merger would give Iberia IBLA.MC, which is Spain’s largest airline and a core shareholder in Clickair, a 45 percent stake in the new company, which would become Spain’s second-largest carrier. ($1=.7466 Euro) (Reporting by Jonathan Gleave, editing by Will Waterman)

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