The European Commission has approved the Vattenfall takeover of Berlin utility BEWAG which Vattenfall bought for E1890 m in December, after a year of wrangling, from the US company Mirant. Now Vattenfall is forming what will be the third largest German utility from Bewag, HEW, Veag and Laubag under the name of Vattenfall Europe. Neither the European competition regulators nor the German Federal Cartell Office had any objections to the merger as they regard the new utility as a potential competitor to RWE and E.on. The new Vattenfall Europe will start up in 2003.

Vattenfall chairman Lars Josefsson announced that the merger of the four companies would save several hundred million Euro from overlap and planned cost decreases. At present Vattenfall Europe has 20 000 employees, a turnover of about E6000 million and 2.7 million customers.