Hutchison expects EU investigation of Orange Austria takeover

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VIENNA (Reuters) – The European Commission has objections to Hutchison Whampoa’s (0013.HK ) agreed 1.3 billion euro ($1.7 billion) takeover of France Telecom’s (FTE.PA ) Orange Austria and will carry out a full investigation, Hutchison’s Austrian mobile chief said on Thursday.

Hutchison 3G Austria (H3G) had offered to open up its mobile network to new competitors to assuage the Commission’s concerns about reducing the number of mobile network operators in Austria to three from four.

“They nevertheless intend to issue a Statement of Objections within the next week and to continue with the full Phase 2 investigation despite these considerable efforts on H3G’s part,” H3G Austria’s Chief Executive Jan Trionow wrote in an email.

“We will analyze the Statement of Objections when received and will want to work further with the Commission towards a positive outcome,” he wrote. “We are hopeful that the Commission will shift its stance.”

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan- Editing by David Goodman)

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