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UPS loses $2 billion euro claim for EU veto on TNT bid

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FILE PHOTO: The company logo for United Parcel Service (UPS), is displayed on a screen at the NYSE in New York
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By Foo Yun Chee

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) -The world's No. 1 logistics company, United Parcel Service Inc, on Wednesday lost its court fight for a record 1.74-billion euro ($2 billion) compensation claim from EU antitrust regulators for blocking its 2013 bid for Dutch rival TNT.

A win for UPS could encourage other companies to take similar action though EU merger vetoes are rare, with only 10 deals blocked by the EU in the past decade.

The European Commission had stopped UPS' planned 5.2-billion-euro acquisition of TNT because it had not offered enough remedies to allay concerns that the deal would hurt consumers.

UPS subsequently challenged the decision in court, won and then sued the EU executive for compensation for the harm allegedly suffered as a result of the EU veto.

"The General Court dismisses two actions for damages brought by UPS and ASL Aviation Holdings," the court said.

"UPS failed to establish that the infringements of its procedural rights in the procedure for the control of the concentration between itself and TNT constituted the determining cause of the types of damage alleged," judges said.

The court also turned down compensation claims from ASL Aviation Holdings DA and ASL Airlines (Ireland) Ltd, two UPS subcontractors that had clinched commercial deals with TNT to be performed after the approval of the merger between UPS and TNT.

The ruling can be appealed to the EU Court of Justice, Europe's top court, only on points of law.

The EU watchdog had in 2016 cleared FedEx Corp's 4.4 billion euro purchase of TNT Express.

The UPS claim is the largest since Schneider Electric sued the Commission for around 1.6 billion euros for blocking its bid for Legrand in 2001 and won. Europe's top court however said it should be compensated for only part of its legal fees.

The cases are T-834/17 UPS v Commission and T-540/18 ASL Aviation Holdings and ASL Airlines v Commission.

($1 = 0.8810 euros)

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee and Bart Meijer; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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