GE has been fined €52m ($58.4m) by the European Commission for providing “incorrect” information over its offshore wind turbine plans during the run-up to its $1.65bn takeover of blade-maker LM Wind Power.
The US industrial giant told Commission officials in early 2017 that it had no more powerful turbine in development than its 6MW Haliade machine, when it provided information for the EU to clear its purchase of LM Wind Power on competition grounds, said a statement announcing the penalty.
“However, through information collected from a third party, the Commission found that GE was simultaneously offering a 12MW offshore wind turbine to potential customers,” it added.
GE then withdrew its notification of the acquisition, resubmitting it days later, “this time including complete information on its future project”.
Although the omission of the 12MW plan – later unveiled by GE Renewable Energy as the Haliade-X – did not give cause to block the deal for LM Wind Power, the Commission said it was a “serious infringement” of its procedures.
Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: "Our merger assessment and decision-making can only be as good as the information that we obtain to support it. Accurate information is essential for the Commission to take competition decisions in full knowledge of the facts.
“The fine imposed today on General Electric is proof that the Commission takes breaches of the obligation for companies to provide us with correct information very seriously.”
Providing inaccurate or misleading information can result in a fine of 1% of turnover under EU rules.
The Commission said the €52m takes into account “the nature, the gravity and duration of the infringement, as well as any mitigating and aggravating circumstances”.
GE said in a statement sent to Recharge: “We have been notified of the adoption of the EC decision and we are reviewing it in detail before determining our next actions.”
GE Renewable Energy in March denied reports it is currently developing a 14MW version of its Haliade-X offshore wind turbine to be installed as a prototype in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam this summer.