(Repeats to additional Reuters clients)
BRUSSELS May 10 Belgian power grid operator
Elia (ELI.BR) and its Australian ally secured EU regulatory
clearance on Monday for their acquisition of Swedish power
company Vattenfall's [VATN.UL] high-voltage grid in Germany.
Elia and Australian investment group Industry Funds
Management paid close to half a billion euros ($671 million) for
the German grid which amounts to half of the electricity network
in Europe's largest economy.
"The (European) Commission's investigation confirmed that
the proposed merger would not close off the market to
competition," the European Union competition watchdog said in a
statement, citing low market shares in the relevant markets.
Elia and IFM, which are also taking on 320 million euros in
debt, expect to complete the deal in the second quarter of 2010.
Utilities across Europe are selling profitable but
state-regulated energy grids to cut debt and focus on more
profitable power markets in which they often operate in an
E.ON (EONGn.DE), Germany's largest utility, struck a deal in
November last year to sell its domestic long-distance
high-voltage grid to Dutch grid operator TenneT.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)