BRUSSELS, Oct 8 (Reuters) - The EU's antitrust chief said onMonday Hutchison 3G would have to offer sufficientconcessions to ease regulatory concerns and allow clearance ofits bid for France Telecom's Orange Austria.
The European Commission, which oversees EU competitionpolicy, has expressed concerns that the planned 1.3 billion euro($1.7 billion) deal would eliminate one of Austria's four maintelecoms providers.
"We have formally raised objections regarding this proposedmerger because of risks that higher concentration in Austriamight entail," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia toldEU lawmakers. "I hope we will receive adequate remedies toeliminate our concerns in this merger."
Almunia had last week questioned whether Hutchison 3G couldoffer adequate remedies, signaling a possible veto.
Hutchison executives will make the case for the deal at aprivate hearing with EU and national officials on Wednesday, asource familiar with the matter said.
Hutchison, a unit of Hutchison Whampoa , which iscontrolled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, has offered toopen its network to rivals at cost price, but EU regulators wantmore concessions before allowing the merger of Austria's thirdand fourth largest operators.
Telekom Austria is the biggest player followed byDeutsche Telekom's T-Mobile.($1 = 0.7657 euros)
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; writing by Charlie Dunmore; Editingby Sebastian Moffett and Philip Blenkinsop)
Keywords: HUTCHISON ORANGEAUSTRIA/EU