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Thyssenkrupp loses fight against EU veto of Tata Steel JV

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(This Jun. 22 story corrects headline and text to show only Thyssenkrupp was involved in the court appeal)

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Thyssenkrupp has lost its fight against a European Union antitrust veto of its proposed landmark joint venture with Tata Steel, after Europe's second-highest court rejected its arguments.

The two companies in 2019 had sought to tackle over-capacity and other challenges in the steel industry via the joint venture, which would have created Europe's second-largest steelmaker after ArcelorMittal.

But the European Commission said the deal could result in significant price hikes and demanded remedies Thyssenkrupp at the time said would jeopardise the logic of the planned transaction.

The EU competition enforcer in its 2019 decision said the companies had not offered sufficient steps to address concerns, forcing it to block the deal and Thyssenkrupp to challenge the finding at the Luxembourg-based General Court.

"In today's judgment, the General Court rejects all the arguments raised by the undertaking and upholds the Commission’s decision," the Court said on Wednesday.

Thyssenkrupp can appeal on matters of law to the Court of Justice of the European Union, Europe's top court.

The case is T-584/19.

Thyssenkrupp, which has since explored and rejected an attempt to sell its steel division to Britain's Liberty Steel, said it had taken note of the decision.

"We remain of the opinion that the EU Commission's blocking of the joint venture with Tata Steel Europe in 2019 was a disproportionate step," the company said.

Tata Steel Europe declined to comment.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Additional reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff in Duesseldorf and Christoph Steitz in Frankfurt; Editing by Edmund Blair, Jane Merriman and David Goodman)

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