February 2002

Anticompetitive practices

The European Court of First Instance confirms the Commission’s decision in a price fixing case in the shipping sector clarifying the scope of regulation 4056/86 concerning the application of articles 85 and 86 of the EC Treaty to the maritime transports (Compagnie Générale Maritime and others v. Commission)
European Commission - DG COMP
"Recent judgments in the liner shipping sector"* 1. Introduction On 28 February 2002, the European Court of First Instance (the CFI) delivered three judgments of great importance for EU maritime competition policy. Ruling on appeals brought against the 1994 TAA and FEFC decisions and 1996 (...)

The European Court of First Instance clarifies the application of the EU liner conference block exemption (Atlantic Container Line)
European Commission - DG COMP
"Recent judgments in the liner shipping sector"* 1. Introduction On 28 February 2002, the European Court of First Instance (the CFI) delivered three judgments of great importance for EU maritime competition policy. Ruling on appeals brought against the 1994 TAA and FEFC decisions and 1996 (...)

The European Court of First Instance upholds the Commission’s decision concerning a price fixing case in the shipping sector (Trans-Atlantic Conference Agreement)
European Commission - DG COMP
"Recent judgments in the liner shipping sector"* 1. Introduction On 28 February 2002, the European Court of First Instance (the CFI) delivered three judgments of great importance for EU maritime competition policy. Ruling on appeals brought against the 1994 TAA and FEFC decisions and 1996 (...)

The European Commission adopts a new Leniency Notice
Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
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Macchi di Cellere Gangemi (London)
The detection and punishment of illegal cartels are at the top of the European Commission’s enforcement agenda. In 2001, the Commission meted out record fines in cartel cases totaling $ 1.6 billion, eclipsing the U.S. single-year record of $ 1.1 billion. Historically, the Commission’s fabled « (...)

The EU Commission issues new notice on immunity and reduction of fines in cartel cases
European Commission - DG GROW
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Service européen pour l’action extérieure (EEAS)
"The Commission’s new notice on immunity and reduction of fines in cartel cases: building on success"* On 13 February 2002, the Commission adopted its new notice on immunity from fines and reduction of fines in cartel cases. The notice entered into force the following day and replaced the 1996 (...)

The French Competition Council holds systematic discount prohibition in a selective distribution network as prohibited indirect resale price maintenance (Bausch & Lomb / Casino)
Terre Azur (Pomona Group)
Description of the impugned case Regarding to the facts, French competition Council showed that all pricing policy of distributors contrary to the price floor determined by the supplier, even on a short period, should be assimilated to a systematic discount prohibited by the supplier. Indeed, (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice holds that a municipality that subsidises certain trips with taxis or rental cars with an allowance does not infringe the vertical price fixing prohibition by entering into a framework contract with the service provider according to which the provider agrees to transport guests at a certain rate (Jugendnachtfahrten)
Linklaters (Dusseldorf)
Description of the impugned case The BGH holds that the obligation of the service provider to forward orders at fixed conditions does not constitute an infringement of the prohibition to fix prices for agreements with a third party as in the taxi drivers are under no obligation to provide (...)

The UK OFT clears the standard licensing conditions of an association following amendments (Association of Film Distributors)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (London)
I. Introduction On 1 February 2002, the UK Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) published its decision on the amended standard conditions for licensing the commercial exhibition of films (the “Amended Conditions”) notified by the Film Distributors’ Association Ltd (“FDA”) . Following recommendations from (...)

The European Commission and the UK OFT raise concerns about a proposed alliance between British and US companies airlines (British Airways/American Airlines)
European Commission - DG COMP
"Air transport — The proposed British Airways-American Airlines alliance"* In August 2001, the Commission, the UK Office of Fair Trading (‘OFT’) and the US Department of Transportation (‘DoT’) were informed of the intention of British Airways (‘BA’) and American Airlines (‘AA’) to deepen their (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Netherlands Competition Authority extends its investigation into tariff charges for electronic debit card payment facilities (Interpay)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Extends its Investigation into Interpay* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) is extending its investigation into Interpay. The decision to do so was taken on the basis of a preliminary investigation by NMa and signals received from the market. The tariffs Interpay charges for its (...)

The French Competition Authority grants interim measures in the ADSL line sector (France Télécom)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. High-speed Internet access via ADSL : the Conseil de la concurrence orders France Télécom to suspend sales of eXtense packs in its outlets* Following a referral by the company T-Online, an Internet service (...)

The German Competition Authority discontinues proceedings on suspicion of abuse of dominance in the electricity sector after receiving commitments for a new tender system for the procurement of balancing energy (EnBW Transportnetze)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Abuse proceedings against EnBW in the balancing energy sector discontinued* The Bundeskartellamt has discontinued the abuse proceedings instituted at the end of October 2001 against EnBW Transportnetze AG (EnBW) on suspicion of charging their competitors inappropriate fees for balancing (...)

The German Competition Authority prohibits a domestic airline company to adopt a low pricing strategy designed to squeeze a new competitor out of the market (Deutsche Lufthansa)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt prohibits Lufthansa from hindering its rival Germania* The Bundeskartellamt sees the pricing strategy of Deutsche Lufthansa AG (DLH) as an attempt to squeeze its new competitor, Germania Fluggesellschaft mbH, Berlin (Germania) out of the market and fears that emerging (...)

Mergers

The Lithuanian Competition Council cleared an acquisition in the market of retail trade in oil products with remedies, including commitments not to merge companies concerned and to apply non-discriminatory pricing (Maþeikiø nafta/Uotas)
Vodafone (Istanbul)
The operation By a decision dated 28 February 2002, the Lithuanian Competition Council authorized in phase II the acquisition by AB Maþeikiø nafta (« Maþeikiø nafta ») of 85 % shares of UAB Uotas (« Uotas »). In the same Decision the Council authorized the acquisition of joint control of Uotas by (...)

The German Competition Authority prohibits planned acquisition of broadband cable networks (Deutsche Telekom / Liberty Media)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt prohibits planned Liberty Media/KDG merger* The Bundeskartellamt has prohibited Liberty Media’s planned acquisition of Deutsche Telekom AG’s (KDG) broadband cable networks. The merger would strengthen dominant positions in the supply market for broadcasting signals to final (...)

The German Competition Authority prohibits acquisition in the energy sector (E.ON Düsseldorf / Bergemann Essen)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt prohibits E.ON’s acquisition of majority stake in Ruhrgas* The Bundeskartellamt has prohibited E.ON AG, Düsseldorf, (E.ON) from acquiring Bergemann GmbH, Essen (Bergemann) which would give it indirect control of Ruhrgas AG, Essen (Ruhrgas). The President of the Bundeskartellamt, (...)

The European Commission refers an acquisition to the UK competition authorities concerning the sector of food catering (Compass/Restorama/Rail Gourmet/Gourmet Nova)
European Commission - DG ECFIN
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European Commission - DG COMP
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Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st January 2002 and 30th April 2002"* The European Commission referred the acquisition by Compass of Rail Gourmet UK to the competition authorities of the United Kingdom, which had expressed concerns about reduction of competition in the UK on-train (...)

The European Commission clears an acquisition in the building materials sector after partially referring the case to the German Bundeskartellamt (Haniel/Fels)
European Commission - DG ECFIN
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European Commission - DG COMP
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Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st January 2002 and 30th April 2002"* The Commission cleared the proposed acquisition by Haniel Baustoff-Industrie Zuschlagstoffe GmbH of Fels-Werke GmbH, two German companies active in the building materials sector. The Commission examined carefully (...)

The French Minister of Economy cleared a merger in the cinema sector with structural and behavioural remedies (Gaumont/Pathe/Europalaces)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The operation By the present transaction, Pathe will acquire the sole control of Gaumont. Both parties are producers, distributors and cinema operators. The market(s) The markets have been defined as (i) the movie distribution and (ii) the operating of movie theatres. Remedy 1: Divesture (...)

The European Commission conditionally clears the acquisition of a French pet food company by US leading food manufacturer (Masterfoods/Royal Canin)
European Commission - DG ECFIN
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European Commission - DG COMP
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Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st January 2002 and 30th April 2002"* The Commission cleared the proposed acquisition of the French pet food company Royal Canin S.A. by Masterfoods Holding, a French subsidiary of Mars Inc.of the United States. Mars undertook to divest its (...)

The German Competition Authority finds that planned acquisition was prone to strengthen dominant positions in the supply market for broadcasting signals to final customers (TeleColumbus / Liberty Media)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt issues warning regarding the planned Liberty Media/TeleColumbus GmbH merger* According to the preliminary assessment of the Bundeskartellamt, the planned acquisition by Liberty Media of subsidiaries of TeleColumbus GmbH would, so far as these are active in the territory of (...)

The European Commission partially clears a merger between two Danish largest slaughterhouses and refers part of the assessment to the Danish authorities (Danish Crown/Steff-Houlberg)
European Commission - DG ECFIN
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European Commission - DG COMP
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Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st January 2002 and 30th April 2002"* The Commission’s own preliminary review of the case showed that the competition concerns were limited to the Danish market where Danish Crown and Steff-Houlberg are currently the two largest competitors. The (...)

The Turkish Competition Board clears an acquisition in the special chemicals industry sector (Eliokem Holding/Goodyear Chemicals)
Erdem & Erdem (Istanbul)
Turkish Competition Board (Rekabet Kurulu), 12 February 2002, Littlejohn Fund II, L.P. and Eliokem Holding SAS/Goodyear Chemicals Europe, Decision n° 02-08/58-27 In its decision dated 12 February 2002, the Turkish Competition Board (Hereafter “CB”) unconditionally cleared the acquisition by (...)

The Slovak Competition Office cleared a merger in the sector of tobacco with a remedy consisting in the limitation on the combined market share of undertakings concerned (Royal Invest Consulting/Coop Centrum/Barczi/KT Print)
Čechová & Partners
The operation By a decision dated 04 02 2002, the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic authorized the merger between the companies Royal Invest Consulting, spol. s.r.o., COOP CENTRUM, a.s., BARCZI, spol. s.r.o. and KT PRINT, s.r.o. consisting in the creation of a joint venture operating (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a planned acquisition of electricity plants after imposing reduction of the shares acquired (RWE / GEW)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt forces RWE’s acquisition of share in GEW Rhineland below merger threshold* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared the planned acquisition of the electricity plants of RWE AG, Essen (RWE) located on the right bank of the Rhine by GEW AG, Cologne (GEW). RWE’s plan to acquire a share in (...)

The German Bundeskartellamt clears a merger in the online travel agency industry (Bild.de / T-Online)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
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European Commission - DG ECFIN
"Internet Joint Ventures and the Quest for Exclusive Content: The T-Online Cases"* Introduction EC and national competition law issues arising from the marketing of ‘premium’ content, such as travel services and sports news, via the Internet were at the centre of several recent competition (...)

The US FTC prevents the closing of a merger between two major online job boards and suggests that relevant market is limited to online job services (Monster/Hotjobs)
WilmerHale (Washington)
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Williams & Connolly
In June 2001, TMP Worldwide, owner of the dominant online job board “Monster.com,” agreed to purchase the second largest online job board, “HotJobs.” Rather than permitting the merger to go forward as scheduled, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) prevented the closing indefinitely until the parties (...)

State Aid

The European Commission decides not to raise objections to a State aid program by the Netherlands on soil rehabilitation
European Commission - DG COMP
"The rehabilitation of polluted industrial sites in the Netherlands"* Introduction The Commission has set specific provisions for rehabilitation of polluted industrial sites in the Community guidelines on State aid for environmental protection, hereafter the environmental guidelines. On 27 (...)

The European Commission approves the new multi-sectoral framework on regional aid for large investment projects
European Parliament (Brussels)
"The new Multisectoral Framework for large investment projects"* On 13 February 2002, the European Commission approved a major reform to establish a faster, simpler and more accountable control system of Government support to large investments in the EU . The so-called ‘Multisectoral Framework (...)

Procedures

A Belgium Court of Appeal rules that quantity based price discrimination by beer supplier is not violating EC Reg. N° 1984/83 nor Art. 81.3 EC (Hermans and Daniel/Maloir)
Leuven University
In this case Ms. Hermans and Mr. Daniels appealed against the judgment held in first instance by the Commercial Court of Tongeren (handed down on 3 December 1999). The Commercial Court had found Ms. Hermans and Mr. Daniels liable for breach of contract and BF 510.000 (= € 12.642,57) damages were (...)

Regulatory

The European Commission settles case with Norwegian gas producers in the context of liberalisation of European gas markets (GFU)
European Commission - DG COMP
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Eurojobsites
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Oikeus
"Liberalisation of European Gas Markets - Commission settles GFU case with Norwegian gas producers"* 1. Introduction The European Commission has recently intensified its efforts to liberalise European gas markets. Whilst originally only internal market rules were used to push for market (...)

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