March 2003

Anticompetitive practices

The UK Director General of Fair Trading finds that a Spanish porcelain manufacturer has entered into selective distribution agreements with national retailers with the aim of preventing those retailers from selling its figurines at discount prices (Lladró Comercial)
Addleshaw Goddard (London)
Description of the impugned case The DGFT began an investigation under the Competition Act 1998, following complaints from three independent UK-based retailers, to determine whether selective distribution agreements concluded between Lladró Comercial, a manufacturer and supplier of porcelain (...)

The European Commission approves partnership between British and Belgium airlines companies (British Airways/SN Brussels Airlines)
European Commission - DG COMP
"Commission approves partnership between British Airways and SN Brussels Airlines"* Procedure On 25 July 2002, British Airways (BA) and SN Brussels Airlines (SN) notified to the Commission a number of co-operation agreements requesting an exemption under Article 81 (3) of the Treaty. These (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission imposes surcharges on participants in bidding for civil engineering construction launched by Kagawa Prefecture and Takamatsu City (K.K. Daiou Kohmuten)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
FTC surcharged participants in bidding for civil engineering construction called by Kagawa Prefecture and Takamatsu City* As for bids called by Kagawa-Prefecture and Takamatsu-City, FTC sentenced to pay surcharge to 134 participants in tendering for civil engineering (CE) construction (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission imposes surcharges on participants in bidding for slope protection works (Raito Kogyo Co.)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
FTC surcharged participants in bidding for slope protection works alled by Kanagawa Prefecture and Kanagawa-Prefectural Business Agency (Kigyocho)* As for bids called by Kanagawa Prefecture and Kanagawa Prefectural Business Agency (Kigyocho), FTC sentenced to pay surcharge to 23 participants (...)

Unilateral Practices

The French Competition Authority sanctions major oil companies for having entered into agreements on the market of fuel distribution on motorways (Total Fina Elf France)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Fuel distribution on motorways : the Conseil de la concurrence hands down sanctions against the major oil companies.* In a decision dated 31st March, 2003, following a referral by the Minister of Economy, the (...)

A US Court of Appeals finds that dominant company has violated section 2 of the Sherman Act by using its bundled rebate program and certain exclusive dealing arrangements to maintain its monopoly in the transparent tape (LePage’s v 3M)
Morrison & Foerster (Washington)
LePage’s, Cascade Health Solutions, and a Bundle of Confusion* Discounts on bundled products are commonplace. Consumers value and often expect discounts when purchasing a bundle of products. Sellers use bundled product discounts to compete effectively and maximize sales. As one court has (...)

The Spanish Supreme Court confirms an abuse of dominant position by the telecom incumbent consisting on a refusal to supply lines to 3C Communications (Teléfonos en Aeropuertos - Telefónica de España)
Martinez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann (Madrid)
Introduction On 6 March 2003, the Spanish Supreme Court (the Tribunal Supremo, TS) confirmed a judgement of the Spanish National Court (the Audiencia Nacional, AN) which upheld a decision of 1 February 1995 by the Spanish competition authority (the Tribunal de Defensa de la Competencia, TDC (...)

Mergers

The European Commission approves a merger in the food ingredients industry (Cargill/Degussa)
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European Commission - DG COMP
"Mergers — Main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2006"* On 21 October 2005, the Commission received a notification of Cargill‘s planned acquisition of sole control of Degussa‘s Food Ingredients branch (‘DFI‘). Both Cargill and DFI produce a number of food ingredients and hold a (...)

The Czech Competition Office reviews in appeal proceedings structural merger remedies, inter alia, by depriving itself from right to make divested assets’ buyer subject to its consent if the future transfer is not itself subject to assesment (ÈEZ/STE, VÈE, SÈE, ZÈE, SME, PRE, JME)
Clifford Chance
The operation The merger concerned constituted one of the phases in a wider framework of the government’s strategy to privatize state controlled stakes in the energy sector. The concerned transaction involved the transfer of shares directly owned by the state in eeight regional energy (...)

The Polish Competition Authority clears a merger in the municipal services sector subject to a divestment remedy (Rethmann Recycling/Lobbe)
Clifford Chance (Warsaw)
The operation On 6 March 2003 the President of the OCCP cleared the take-over of the Lobbe Group by Rethmann Recycling. In effect of the concentration Reithmann Recycling acquired all of the shares of the companies belonging to the Lobbe Group and expanded its commercial activity. (pages 2-3) (...)

State Aid

The French administrative supreme Court refused to classify as State aid the financial conditions of the obligation to purchase wind power electricity considering these are not granted through State ressources (UNIDEN)
Schmitt Avocats
French Administrative Supreme Court (Conseil d’Etat), 21 March 2003, Union des Industries Utilisatrices d’Energie (UNIDEN), Case n° 237466 On the 10 February 2000, the French Parliament enacted an obligation to purchase electricity produced by installations of renewable energies not exceeding 12 (...)

The EU Court of First Instance issues its judgment in a case concerning transfer of capital to a German public law credit institution clarifying major policy issues concerning State aid rules (WestLB)
European Commission - DG COMP
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European Commission - DG ENER
"The judgement of the Court of First Instance concerning the transfer of capital to Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale (WestLB)"* On 6 March 2003 the Court of First Instance (CFI) issued the long-awaited judgement in the WestLB case concerning the transfer of the Wohnungsbauförderungsanstalt (...)

The European Commission takes a partly negative decision concerning an export-promotion scheme and clarifies again that even low amounts of export subsidies are not compatible with the common market (Land of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern)
European Commission - DG COMP
"EU — rules on State aid do not allow for export aid"* On 5 March 2003 the Commission took a partly negative decision concerning an export-promotion scheme of the Landof Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and clarified again that even low amounts of export subsidies are not compatible with the Common (...)

French Administrative Courts repeatedly rules that Art. 87.1 EC does not have direct effect and tacitly considered that they do not have to raise by their own motion a potential breach of Art. 88.3 EC (14 cases)
Université Aix-Marseille
1. Introduction The present note is a comment on not less than fourteen Courts decisions in which the French administrative Courts repeatedly ruled that parties cannot, on the basis of former article 92 EC (now article 87 EC) alone, challenge the compatibility of an aid with the common market (...)

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