December 2002

Anticompetitive practices

The Netherlands Competition Authority imposes fines for reduction of dealer fees for post-paid mobile telephone subscriptions and exchange of sensitive information (Ben Nederland / Dutchtone / KPN Mobile / O2 / Vodafone Libertel)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Fines Mobile Telephone Operators EUR 88 Million* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has imposed fines totalling EUR 88,000,000 on Ben Nederland B.V., Dutchtone N.V., KPN Mobile N.V., O2 (Netherlands) B.V. and Vodafone Libertel N.V. NMa has established that these companies (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit issues decision limiting application of antitrust laws in securities (Friedman v. Salomon Smith Barney)
WilmerHale (Washington)
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WilmerHale (Washington)
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WilmerHale (Washington)
The Second Circuit recently rejected two attempts by plaintiffs to challenge, under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, conduct already subject to scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Both decisions hold that conduct is impliedly immune from the antitrust laws if Congress has given the (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority has to decide what fines to impose on the bid rigging agreements on the market for asphalt construction (Heijmans / Solétanche)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Will Also Conduct Intensive Investigations into the Construction Industry in 2003* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) will continue its intensive investigation into possible infringements of the Competition Act in the construction sector in 2003. NMa will continue to monitor the (...)

The European Commission adopts cartel decision imposing fines in food flavour enhancers (nucleotide) cartel (Ajinomoto Company, Cheil Jedang and Daesang)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Commission adopts cartel decision imposing fines in food flavour enhancers (nucleotide) cartel"* The European Commission fined on 17 December 2002 Ajinomoto Company Inc.(Japan), Cheil Jedang Corporation (South Korea) and Daesang Corporation (South Korea) respectively € 15.54 million, € 2.74 (...)

The EU Commission imposes a fine of € 51.8 M on companies for participating in a price-fixing cartel in the market of isostatic specialty graphite
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"The specialty graphite price-fixing cartels"* On 17 December 2002 the Commission fined SGL Carbon AG, Le Carbone-Lorraine S.A., Ibiden Co., Ltd., Tokai Carbon Co., Ltd, Toyo Tanso Co., Ltd., NSCC Techno Carbon Co., Ltd., Nippon Steel Chemical Co., Ltd., Intech EDM B.V. and Intech EDM AG a (...)

The European Commission fines participants in concrete reinforcing bars cartel
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Commission fines participants in concrete reinforcing bars cartel"* On 17 December 2002 the Commission imposed fines totalling more than € 85 million on eight Italian firms for having organised, between 1989 and 2000, a cartel on the market in concrete reinforcing bars, a product used in the (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority doesn’t approve protocol signed by of the private health insurers united in a professional association (Solidarity Protocol)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Does Not Approve Health Insurers’ ’Solidarity Protocol’* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has not approved the so-called ’Solidarity Protocol’ of the private health insurers united in Zorgverzekeraars Nederland (ZN). According to NMa, these agreements restrain competition between (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority imposes fines for refusal to co-operate with certain parts of the antitrust investigation on tenders for asphalting projects (Koninklijke Wegenbouw)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Fines KWS for Refusal to Co-operate* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has imposed fines totalling EUR 27,000 (twenty-seven thousand euros) on Koninklijke Wegenbouw Stevin (KWS) due to its refusal to co-operate with certain parts of NMa’s investigation. KWS was fined because the (...)

The European Commission settles its investigation into territorial sales restrictions with Nigerian gas company (NLNG)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"The territorial restrictions case in the gas sector: a state of play"* 1. Introduction On 6 October 2003, the Commission services announced the closure of their investigation into the supply relationship between Russian gas producer Gazprom and Italian wholesaler ENI. Just as other cases (...)

The European Commission clears joint venture of nine European airlines companies creating an online travel agency (Opodo)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Commission clears online travel agency Opodo"* Introduction Opodo is an online travel agent created as a joint venture by nine of the largest European airlines. It was notified to the Commission in November 2000. Opodo offers internet travel agency services including airline ticket sales, (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Netherlands Competition Authority imposes an obligation to offer advertising services and support in the area of transport and delivery at competitive prices to companies which wish to enter the regional daily newspaper market in Southeast Gelderland (Wegener Daily Newspapers)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Sets Conditions for Wegener Daily Newspapers in Gelderland* Wegener may not increase the prices of the company’s daily newspapers in Gelderland more than in the rest of the country. The regional editions of De Gelderlander must be maintained and Wegener must support new entrants. The (...)

The Estonian Supreme Court issues a landmark decision on excessive pricing and interaction between competition law and regulation (Eesti Telefon)
EFTA Surveillance Authority
1. Background information AS Eesti Telefon (ET, currently Elion Ettevõtted AS) is the Estonian incumbent telecom operator. The Estonian Competition Board (ECB) initiated proceedings against ET after ET had implemented a price rise to its on-net telephone services provided at a fixed location. (...)

Mergers

The Netherlands Competition Authority approves an acquisition on the domestic market for cable connections (Carlyle en Providence / Casema)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Approves Acquisition of Casema by Carlyle and Providence* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) approved on 23 December 2002 the acquisition of Casema Holding B.V. by The Carlyle Group LLC and two funds of the Providence Equity group. These investors do not have any cable or media (...)

The European Commission decides to accede to the request of the Belgian Economic Minister to refer a transaction involving an agreement concerning the supply of electricity to eligible customers (Intercommunale d’Electricité du Hainaut (IEH) and Electrabel)
European Commission - DG ECFIN
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG GROW
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st September 2002 and 31st December 2002"* On 23 December 2002 the Commission decided to accede to the request of the Belgian Economic Minister to refer, pursuant to Art. 9 of the ECMR, a transaction involving an agreement between l’Intercommunale (...)

The European Commission authorizes, subject to conditions, the joint acquisition of a regional gas wholesaler by German electricity and Italian gas and petroleum companies (ENI/EnBW/GVS)
European Commission - DG ECFIN
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG GROW
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st September 2002 and 31st December 2002"* On 17 December 2002 the European Commission authorised, subject to conditions, the joint acquisition of German regional gas wholesaler Gas Versorgung Süddeutschland (GVS) by German electricity firm Energie (...)

The Italian Competition Authority clears a merger in the financial sector with behavioural remedies which were finally waived due to a change of circumstances (Società Assicuratrice Industriale/La Fondiaria Assicurazioni)
Chiomenti (Rome)
The operation At first the two parties involved in the transaction were Fondiaria and Sai, two insurances companies based in Italy. On 6 August 2002, Sai notified the ICA the concentration by which Sai indented to acquire 29,9% of the capital stake of Fondiaria with the aim to be merged with (...)

The Czech NCA clears a merger in the long-distance heat supplies sector, subject to granting access to the infrastructure and temporary maintenance of supply level (Dalkia/ZTO)
Clifford Chance
The operation On the basis of the share purchase agreement concluded between Dalkia Morava, a.s. ("Dalkia") as a buyer and Ostrava municipality as a seller, Dalkia acquired 95% of shares in Zásobování teplem Ostrava, a.s. ("ZTO"), a stake enabling Dalkia to exercise an exclusive control over the (...)

The European Commission decides to refer certain aspects of an acquisition in the home improvement sector to the competition authorities in France, Spain and Portugal (Leroy Merlin/Brico DIY stores)
European Commission - DG ECFIN
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG GROW
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st September 2002 and 31st December 2002"* On 13 December 2002 the Commission decided to refer certain aspects of Leroy Merlin‘s acquisition of Brico DIY stores to the competition authorities in France, Spain and Portugal. The Commission found that (...)

The French Minister of Economics cleared in phase I a merger in the market of building material retail with commitment to supply products to any new entrants (Point P/Ardi)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The operation The Minister authorized the merger between Ardi, a building material wholesaler, and Point P, a subsidiary of Saint Gobain. The market The Minister assessed the relevant market for retailing of building products on a product by product basis and focused his analysis on the (...)

The US FTC announces the implementation of new guidelines for future merger investigations relating mostly to FTC second requests
Kirkland & Ellis (Washington)
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Hughes Hubbard & Reed (Washington)
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WilmerHale (Washington)
On December 12, 2002, the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition announced the implementation of new guidelines for future merger investigations. The guidelines, which relate mostly to FTC Second Requests, emanate from Bureau-sponsored public workshops on best practices in merger (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority approves conditionally plans for cost savings at two daily newspapers (BN De Stem / Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Gives Conditional Approval to Wegener’s Plans for Daily Newspapers in Zealand Flanders* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has agreed conditionally to the plans of Wegener N.V. for cost savings at the daily newspaper BN/De Stem and Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant. Wegener is required (...)

The European Commission decides upon a comprehensive reform of the EU merger control system, including the adoption of proposals for legislative change and for substantive guidance on merger analysis
Hong Kong’s Competition Commission
"Reform of the EU Merger Control System — a comprehensive package of proposals"* On 11 December 2002, the Commission decide upon a comprehensive reform of the EU merger control system, including the adoption of proposals for legislative change and for substantive guidance on merger analysis. (...)

The US DOJ approves a merger in defense industry subject to behavioral remedies (Northrop Grumman/TRW)
Stanford University
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WilmerHale (Brussels)
On December 11, 2002, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a proposed consent decree, permitting Northrop Grumman to proceed with its $7.8 billion acquisition of TRW. Northrop Grumman/TRW shows that the DOJ and the Department of Defense (DOD), which plays a leading role in reviewing defense (...)

State Aid

The European Commission authorizes the prolongation of Swedish eco-tax scheme addressing the issue of bundling of eco-taxes for State aid assessment
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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SKF (Göteborg)
"State aid and eco-taxes: bundling of eco-taxes for State aid assessment"* Eco-taxes in the European Union Several Member States have introduced taxes on energy products in order to create an incentive to reduce the consumption of energy, and thereby also the emissions of greenhouse gases (...)

Procedures

The Council of the EU adopts a new regulation on the implementation of Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty (Regulation 1/2003)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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Latham & Watkins (Brussels)
"Regulation 1/2003: a modernised application of EC competition rules"* I. Introduction On 16 December 2002, the Council adopted a new Regulation on the implementation of Articles 81 and 82 EC: Regulation 1/2003 (OJ 2003, L1/1). This Regulation replaces Regulation 17, which for over 40 years (...)

The Council of the EU adopts new rules on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Regulation 1/2003 and the Modernisation Package fully applicable since 1 May 2004"* A. Overview of the new rules As from 1st May 2004, the new enforcement system for Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty is fully applicable. With the entry into application of Regulation 1/2003, Regulation 17/62 (...)

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