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EU to approve Aker raid on Kværner?

Aker Maritime's sale of its deepwater unit to Coflexip Stolt Offshore of France will make it easier for Aker to get a green light from European Union competition authorities to purchase 26 percent of its offshore services rival, Kværner.

Before the sale was announced last month, EU officials had been concerned that a merged Aker-Kværner would be too dominant in northern European waters. But according to the newspaper Bergens Tidende, EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti is now likely to look positively upon Aker's proposed conversion of Kværner stock options, making Aker the biggest shareholder in Kværner despite Kværner's opposition. The two Norwegian companies are global suppliers of offshore oil and gas production technology, but longstanding merger talks have soured.