December 15, 2017 / 4:52 PM / a year ago

Exclusive: Safran, Zodiac deal expected to win unconditional EU approval - source

FILE PHOTO: The logo of French aircraft seats and equipment manufacturer Zodiac Aerospace is seen in Paris, France, April 20, 2016. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - French aero engine maker Safran (SAF.PA) is set to secure an EU green light for its $7.7 billion bid for aircraft seat maker Zodiac Aerospace ZODC.PA to create the world’s third-largest aerospace supplier, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Safran has said the deal would boost its position in making smarter and more connected aircraft, targeting planemakers such as Airbus (AIR.PA) and Boeing (BA.N).

The merged entity would compete with U.S companies United Technologies (UTX.N) and General Electric (GE.N).

The European Commission, which is scheduled to rule on the deal by Dec. 21, declined to comment. Safran also declined to comment.

The proposed takeover is one of several deals in the aerospace industry which includes United Technologies Corp’s $23 billion plan to buy avionics maker Rockwell Collins Inc (COL.N).

The Safran, Zodiac tie-up has already been given the regulatory go-ahead in Canada, Kenya, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, the United States and pre-authorized in South Korea. Authorities in China and Brazil are also expected to clear the deal.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, additional reporting by Cyril Altmeyerhenzien in Paris; editing by Alissa de Carbonnel and David Evans

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