December 2001

Anticompetitive practices

The European Commission issues an evaluation report on the transfer of technology block exemption regulation
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Review of the block exemption Regulation on technology transfer agreements"* While the Block Exemption Regulation n° 240 on transfer of technology (hereafter ‘TTBE’) is expected to apply until 31 March 2006, Article 12 requires the Commission to carry out regular assessments of the application (...)

The European Commission fines companies a total of € 313.69 M for implementing concerted price increases on the carbonless paper market (Carbonless paper)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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Delegation of the European Union to Turkey
"Commission adopts eight new decisions imposing fines on hard-core cartels 8. The carbonless paper cartel"* Following-up on two Decisions adopted earlier in the year 2001 (Decisions SAS-Maersk andGraphite electrodes, both adopted on 18 July 2001: see Competition Newsletter 2001, Issue n°3), the (...)

The European Commission adopts a new notice on agreements of minor importance (de minimis Notice)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"New Notice on agreements of minor importance (de minimis Notice)"* The Commission adopted on 20 December 2001 a new Notice on agreements of minor importance which do not appreciably restrict competition under Article 81 (1) of the EC Treaty (‘de minimis Notice’). The new Notice replaces the (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority finds that the larger oil companies keep the price of petrol, diesel and LPG artificially high through a system of agreements with independent filling station owners (Shell / BP / Esso / TotalFina / Texaco)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa: Oil Companies Keep Prices Artificially High through Agreements with Filling station Owners* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has established that the larger oil companies (Shell, BP, Esso, TotalFina and Texaco) keep the price of petrol, diesel and LPG artificially high through (...)

The European Commission fines six companies a total of € 11.95 M for fixing the price and sharing the market for zinc phosphate (Britannia Alloys & Chemicals, Dr Hans Heubach, James M. Brown, Société Nouvelle des Couleurs Zinciques, Trident Alloys, Waardals Kjemiske Fabrikke)
Oikeus
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European Commission - DG GROW
"Commission adopts eight new decisions imposing fines on hard-core cartels 7. The zinc phosphate market-sharing and price-fixing cartel"* Following-up on two Decisions adopted earlier in the year 2001 (Decisions SAS-Maersk and Graphite electrodes, both adopted on 18 July 2001: see Competition (...)

The European Commission fines five German banks for fixing the charges for the exchange of euro-zone currencies (Commerzbank, Dresdner Bank, BayerischeHypo und Vereinsbank, Vereins und Westbank, Deutsche Verkehrsbank)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Commission adopts eight new decisions imposing fines on hard-core cartels 6. Commission fines five German banks for fixing the charges for the exchange of euro-zone currencies"* Following-up on two Decisions adopted earlier in the year 2001 (Decisions SAS-Maersk and Graphite electrodes, both (...)

The European Commission fines three Luxembourg brewers a total of € 448 000 for their participation in a market sharing cartel affecting the Luxembourg ’horeca’ or ’on-trade’ sector (Brasserie Nationale-Bofferding, Brasserie de Wiltz, Brasserie Battin)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Commission adopts eight new decisions imposing fines on hard-core cartels 5. Market sharing cartel on the Luxembourg beer market"* Following-up on two Decisions adopted earlier in the year 2001 (Decisions SAS-Maersk and Graphite electrodes, both adopted on 18 July 2001: see Competition (...)

The European Commission imposes fine of over € 91 M on companies for participating in cartels on the Belgian beer market (Interbrew, Danone, Alken-Maes, Haacht and Martens)
NautaDutilh
"Commission adopts eight new decisions imposing fines on hard-core cartels 4. Market-sharing and price-fixing cartels on the Belgian beer market"* Following-up on two Decisions adopted earlier in the year 2001 (Decisions SAS-Maersk and Graphite electrodes, both adopted on 18 July 2001: see (...)

The European Commission imposes a fine of € 135.22 M on chemical companies for fixing the price and sharing the market for citric acid (Citric acid cartel)
European Commission - DG GROW
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Service européen pour l’action extérieure (EEAS)
"Commission adopts eight new decisions imposing fines on hard-core cartels 3. The citric acid cartel"* Following-up on two Decisions adopted earlier in the year 2001 (DecisionsSAS-MaerskandGraphite electrodes, both adopted on 18 July 2001: see Competition Newsletter 2001, Issue n°3), the (...)

Unilateral Practices

The French Competition Authority grants interim measures in the local communication market (Télé 2 and Cégétel)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Opening of the market for local communications : the Conseil de la concurrence hands down interim measures against France Télécom* Following referrals by the companies Cégétel and Télé 2, in a decision dated 19th (...)

Mergers

The French Ministry of Economy cleared a merger in the retail of consumer goods sector subject to remedies preventing the buyer from converting the stores acquired into supermarkets (Galeries Lafayette/Marks and Spencer)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The operation By the present transaction, Galerie Lafayette SA ("GL"), which is active in the retail sector throughout several department stores and the Monoprix chain, acquires the 18 French stores of Marks & Spencer. It should be noted that the transfer of assets is limited to the (...)

The European Commission approves the acquisition of German oil and petrochemicals company by Anglo-Dutch oil company (Royal Dutch/Shell/DEA/RWE)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st September 2001 and 31st December 2001"* On 21 December 2001 The Commission approved the acquisition of the German oil and petrochemicals company DEA, which belongs to the RWE group, by Royal Dutch/Shell (UK/NL), and the combination of the (...)

The European Commission approves the acquisition of France’s second-largest sugar manufacturer by German sugar market leader (Saint Louis Sucre/Südzucker)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st September 2001 and 31st December 2001"* Also on 21 December 2001, the Commission approved the acquisition of Saint Louis Sucre SA, France’s second-largest sugar manufacturer, by German sugar market leader Südzucker AG. Südzucker‘s acquisition of Saint (...)

The German Competition Authority clears conditionally two mergers on the market for mineral oil (Shell / DEA and BP / Veba Oel)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt clears Shell/DEA and BP/Veba Oel mineral oil mergers only subject to strict obligations* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared the planned mergers of Deutsche Shell GmbH, Hamburg (Shell) with DEA Mineralöl AG, Hamburg (DEA) and Deutsche BP AG, Hamburg (BP) with Veba Oel AG, (...)

The German Competition Authority refers to the Commission a notification concerning an acquisition on the market for manufacturing of weaving machines (Promatech / Sulzer)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt refers Promatech/Sulzer merger to competition authority in Brussels* In close cooperation with the competition authorities in the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain the Bundeskartellamt has for the first time applied to have a planned merger notified at national level transferred (...)

The German Federal Cartel Office clears a merger in the energy market with remedies, including the divestiture of gas stations, RMR-pipeline supply contracts and the granting of infrastructure access for aviation fuel delivery at Frankfurt airport (Shell/DEA)
E.CA Economics (Berlin)
The operation On 10 July 2001, Shell Deutschland GmbH (Shell) notified the European Commission of its intention to merge its downstream oil business with DEA Mineralöl AG (DEA) by acquiring 50% of the shares of DEA, as a first step to acquiring a majority stake later on. At the request of the (...)

The German Federal Cartel Office clears a merger in the energy market with remedies, including the divestment of gas stations and a stake in a refinery as well as a three year obligation to supply third parties with aviation fuel (BP/ E.ON)
E.CA Economics (Berlin)
The operation On 27 July 2001, BP plc (BP) notified the European Commission of its intention to purchase (via its German affiliate Deutsche BP AG) 51% of Veba Oel AG (Veba Oel) which was a wholly owned subsidiary of E.ON AG (E.ON). On the request of the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) the (...)

The European Commission adopts a green paper on the review of the merger regulation
Hong Kong’s Competition Commission
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Green Paper on the Review of the Merger Regulation"* On 11 December 2001, the Commission adopted a Green Paper on the Review of Council Regulation (EEC) No 4064/89, the Merger Regulation. The Paper calls for views on how the effectiveness of the legal framework for EU merger control might be (...)

The European Commission approves the take-over of a Dutch credit insurance company by German insurance company (Gerling/NCM)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st September 2001 and 31st December 2001"* The Commission approved the take-over of the Dutch credit insurance company NCM Holding N.V. (“NCM”) by German insurance company Gerling-Konzern Versicherungs-Beteiligungs AG (“Gerling”). The Commission’s review (...)

State Aid

The European Commission adopts new rules on regional aid to large investment projects (Multisectoral Framework 2002)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"The Multisectoral Framework 2002: new rules on regional aid to large investment projects"* 1. Introduction The Multisectoral Framework (MSF from now onwards) was adopted in 2002 and modified at the end of 2003. It entered into force on 1 January 2004 and will be applicable until 31 December (...)

The European Commission decides that tax measures for banks introduced by an Italian law are incompatible with State aid rules and orders their recovery
European Commission - DG MOVE
"The restructuring of the Italian banking sector: State aid cannot assist mergers"* Introduction On 11 December 2001, the European Commission decided that the tax measures for banks introduced by Italian Law n° 461/98 of 23 December 1998 and the related Legislative Decree n° 153/99 of 17 May (...)

The French administrative supreme Court ruled that a new tax aimed at replacing an unlawful State aid is not by itself an other unlawful State aid (SNIP)
Schmitt Avocats
French Administrative Supreme Court (Conseil d’État), 3 December 2001, Syndicat National de l’Industrie Pharmaceutique, Case n° 226514 This French State’s Council case Syndicat National de l’Industrie Pharmaceutique is well known for its contribution to the relationship between EC law and French (...)

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