December 15, 2017 / 6:16 PM / a month ago

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

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - French aero engine maker Safran (SAF.PA) is set to secure an EU green light for its $7.7 billion (£5.8 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).

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Safran Group is seen on the company's headquarters building in Toulouse, Southwestern France, April 18, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

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-authorised 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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