UPDATE 1-EU sends antitrust warning to Siemens, Alstom over rail merger

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BRUSSELS, Oct 31 (Reuters) - The European Union's antitrust regulator has sent a series of objections to Siemens and Alstom over their plans to create a Franco-German rail champion through a merger, an EU Commission spokesman said on Wednesday.

The move follows the opening of a full-scale investigation into the deal in July and will force Siemens and Alstom to come up with specific concessions, which may include asset sales, to address the problems singled out by the Commission.

"The Commission can confirm that it has sent a statement of objections to the parties in the Siemens/Alstom case. Our investigation is ongoing," the spokesman said in an email.

The Commission has set a Jan. 28, 2019, deadline for completing its in-depth investigation.

German industrial group Siemens and French rival Alstom announced the planned rail merger in September last year, backed by French President Emmanuel Macron but criticized by opposition politicians who fear France would lose control of the TGV high-speed train.

Siemens makes ICE high-speed trains. Rivals say the power of the combined company could shut them out of the European market. (Reporting by Francesco Guarascio, Foo Yun Chee and Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Mark Potter)