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Mergers `may hurt returns'

ALAN GREENSPAN, the chairman of the US Federal Reserve, yesterday warned that the recent wave of industrial and financial services mergers could create such large corporate bureaucracies that shareholders' returns would be hurt, but added that it was not likely to decrease competition.

Speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr Greenspan said that while bank mergers "have led to a substantial rise in national concentration measures, they have little or no evident impact on average concentration measured at the more relevant local market level".