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EADS gets EU approval to buy British satellite firm SSTL

(Dec 2008) European aircraft manufacturer EADS (EAD.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) gained clearance from European Union antitrust regulators on Thursday to buy British satellite maker Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, the European Commission said.

EADS produces aircraft, telecoms equipment, defence and security systems and satellites. It is also active in the space sector via its subsidiary Astrium, which designs, develops and manufactures satellite systems and their equipment.

SSTL produces satellites, related products and services. The two companies mainly overlap in the production of Earth Observation (EO) satellites sold on the worldwide export market, primarily to non-EU governments or space agencies.

Commission experts concluded that after the transaction, customers in the export market for EO satellites would still have a choice between several significant alternative suppliers.

“The transaction would not significantly impede effective competition within the European economic area,” the Commission, which regulates EU competition policy, said in a statement.

It also said the proposed transaction would not remove a significant actual or potential rival to Astrium on this market. (Reporting by Jeremy Smith, editing by Dale Hudson)