NEWARK, N.J. – Honeywell International Corp. reaffirmed its full commitment to its troubled deal with General Electric Co. Monday, despite objections by European Union regulators with competition concerns about the $41 billion merger.
Honeywell's board of directors ``expects that GE will do everything possible to secure regulatory approval for the transaction,'' the company said in a statement after the board of directors met at the company's Morris Township headquarters.
The board was reviewing ``a broad range of contingency'' plans related to the merger, spokesman Tom Crane said earlier Monday. Analysts looking at the company's options suggested that the high-tech manufacturer might position itself to be bought by another suitor.
The proposed acquisition of Honeywell by GE faces serious opposition from EU regulators, who have expressed concern that the combined company will be able to exploit its dominance in aircraft engines to win advantages in other areas of its business, such as aircraft leasing and avionics.
The EU has until July 12 to rule on the merger, but GE has said it is not optimistic about its chances.
Honeywell, a maker of aerospace, electronics and automotive products, last fall was courting a bid from GE competitor United Technologies Inc. and analysts said the company would benefit by entertaining that or other offers.
``Looking to a merger is probably the best way to get value for Honeywell shares,'' said Harriet C. Baldwin of Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown Inc.
David Bleustein of UBS Warburg said that if the merger deal with GE fails and no suitor emerges, ``Honeywell would face significant challenges,'' including restructuring its management to oversee an independent company after spending three quarters preparing to turn the reins over to GE.
The company also has a large base of shareholders who are expected to sell their holdings if Honeywell remains independent, he said.
Officials for Hartford, Conn.-based United Technologies Corp., which pursued Honeywell until GE swooped in with a better offer, did not return a telephone message on Monday. Meanwhile, Tyco International Ltd., another company mentioned by analysts as a possible suitor, said it had no interest in Honeywell.
Honeywell, formed in December 1999 by the merger of Honeywell and Morris Township-based AlliedSignal, had already begun to streamline, announcing 6,500 job cuts earlier this year and making plans last year to merge its polymers and specialty chemical businesses and close a semiconductor chip packaging plant in California.
Shares of Honeywell rose $1.30, or 3 percent, to $40 in trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, where shares of GE rose 19 cents to $49.