October 30, 2018 / 3:30 PM / 21 days ago

EU probes Tata Steel, ThyssenKrupp planned joint venture

BRUSSELS, Oct 30 (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Tuesday it was investigating whether a planned joint venture between Indian steelmaker Tata Steel and Germany's ThyssenKrupp could reduce competition in the high-end steel sector.

Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp are major producers of flat carbon steel and electrical steel with significant production facilities in Germany, the Netherlands and Britain.

The proposed joint venture would combine their European carbon steel and electrical steel businesses and the Commission said that this raised concerns over their dominance in steel for cars, metallic coated steel for packaging and grain oriented electrical steel.

"The Commission is concerned that, following the transaction, customers would face a reduced choice in suppliers, as well as higher prices," the EU executive said in a statement.

"These customers include various European companies, ranging from major corporations to numerous small and medium-size enterprises," it said.

The Commission now has 90 working days, until 19 March 2019, to take a decision.

"Steel is a crucial input for many of the goods we use in our everyday life, and competitive steel prices are vital for the European economy," Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. (Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; editing by Francesco Guarascio)

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