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Siemens, Areva Offer Antitrust Remedies in Bid to End Probe

Areva SA and Siemens AG have offered antitrust remedies to the European Commission in a bid to end a competition probe into contractual clauses they concluded in a nuclear-reactor joint venture.

The companies have proposed changes to “non-compete and confidentiality obligations” to curb Siemens’s exploitation of Areva technology, according to a statement published on the commission’s website. The commission said today it would seek views on the measures in a so-called market test to see if they would solve competition concerns.

“Siemens and Areva have proposed to reduce both the product scope and the duration of the non-compete obligation,” the commission said in an e-mailed statement.

The commission, the EU’s antitrust regulator, opened an investigation in 2010 into whether contractual clauses between Areva and Siemens may impede competition for certain products in the civil nuclear technology industry.

The probe focused on clauses in place after Areva took full control of Areva NP in 2009, a joint venture between it and Siemens, the EU regulator said at the time.

The remedies that have been offered won’t result in any payments by Siemens or financial obligations, said Alfons Benzinger, a spokesman for Europe’s biggest engineering company.

Siemens decided to end its involvement in nuclear technology after the Fukushima disaster in Japan last year, Benzinger said, meaning concessions offered to the commission in this field wouldn’t have an effect on the company’s business.

Areva, based in Paris, declined to immediately comment.

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