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EU denies Airbus lobbied against GE-Honeywell deal

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ European Union officials denied charges on Monday that Airbus Industrie had lobbied against General Electric's $41 billion purchase of Honeywell International Inc.

``Those accusations are totally unfounded,'' EU competition spokeswoman Amelia Torres said. ``As it happens Airbus has not been very active in the discussions, nor has Boeing.''

Boeing president Harry Stonecipher was quoted by the French daily Le Monde on Saturday as saying Airbus opposed the deal because it would unite GE's aircraft engine business with Honeywell, a key supplier of aircraft electronics.

At the Paris Air Show on Sunday, Airbus chief executive Noel Forgeard insisted ``Airbus has no objection to the deal and has made it known very formally to the European Commission.''

The proposed merger ran into apparently fatal trouble last week after GE said it was unwilling to make all the divestitures the EU was demanding.

EU antitrust regulators have expressed concern that a combined GE-Honeywell will be able to exploit its dominance in aircraft engines to win advantages in other areas of its business, such as aircraft leasing, engine servicing and aerospace electronics, also known as avionics.

GE said last week it was not optimistic about winning EU approval next month, even though the deal has been conditionally cleared in the United States and Canada.

The Commission said Monday it had no meetings with representatives or lawyers of the companies over the weekend.
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