United Technologies Corp. (UTX:US) faces an in-depth probe by European Union regulators into its bid to buy Goodrich Corp. (GR:US) for $16.5 billion amid concerns the deal may harm competition for engine controls and AC power generators.
The European Commission extended its deadline to rule on the deal until Aug. 9 to examine it in greater detail, according to an e-mailed statement. The company said it remains confident the purchase will close by mid-year.
“The aviation equipment industry is already concentrated and is characterized by high barriers to entry,” Joaquin Almunia, the EU’s antitrust commissioner, said in the statement. “We need to make sure that competition is preserved and incentives to innovate remain. We must also prevent a rise in input prices for aircraft and engine manufacturers as well as other aviation equipment suppliers.”
United Technologies, which has aviation brands including Sikorsky helicopters and Pratt & Whitney engines, agreed to buy Goodrich in September, adding a maker of aircraft landing gear and jet-turbine casings to take advantage of a record surge in commercial plane orders. The Hartford, Connecticut-based company is making its first big purchase since buying Sundstrand Corp. in 1999 for $4 billion.
“The phase II in the EU is not surprising, it is part of the normal regulator review process,” spokesman John Moran said by e-mail. “We continue to work with the EU and other regulatory authorities and continue to expect a mid-year closing.”
Goodrich, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is the world’s biggest manufacturer of landing gear, and its products include nacelles, the casings that house jet engines, and de- icing systems used on planes.
The commission said the deal also raises concerns over “the removal of Goodrich as an independent supplier of fuel nozzles and engine controls, as well as in the area of aftermarket services.”
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