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UTC expects Chinese approval of Rockwell merger in coming weeks

United Technologies expects Chinese regulators will soon approve its planned $30 billion acquisition of Rockwell Collins despite recent souring of US-China trade relations.

"We are still within our expected timing range for China. We don't see any drama here, and we continue to expect this to happen shortly," UTC chief executive Gregory Hayes says on 22 October. "We're still on track… Whether this takes another week or two weeks, I'm not all that concerned."

Hayes reiterates that he expects China's approval will come within weeks of the DOJ's approval, which was conditionally cleared on 1 October - later than Rockwell anticipated.

US regulators gave the green light for the deal on the condition that UTC divest two Rockwell divisions: one that makes pneumatic aircraft deicing systems, and another that makes horizontal stabiliser actuators.

As the approval process progressed, however, US-China trade relations strained amid new tariffs and tariff threats.

Hayes though believes such tension will not disrupt the Rockwell deal.

"We have heard nothing from the… the regulatory agency that approves these transactions that would cause us to believe there's any political issue that's holding up the approval of our deal," he says. "There's a lot going on geopolitically, there's a lot of tension between the US and China. We just don't see that as impacting the deal."

With the acquisition, UTC intends to merge its systems and electronics businesses into Rockwell's cockpit and cabin products units to create Collins Aerospace Systems.

In addition to the Rockwell acquisition, UTC's board continues to evaluate other changes to UTC's portfolio of companies, Hayes says.

The board will likely release more details about that review in mid-November, he says.

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