December 2016

Anticompetitive practices

The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court inflicts a record fine for prohibited vertical agreements within a selective distribution system of cars (Hyundai)
Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski
After almost a 4-year appeal procedure, in December 2016 the Supreme Administrative Court of the Republic of Bulgaria (the “Supreme Court”), acting as a court of first instance, confirmed one of the biggest fines ever imposed by the Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition (the “CPC”) (...)

The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court confirms a fine of over 8 million euros for several hard-core vertical restrictions (Hyundai)
Dimitrov, Petrov & Co (Sofia)
Bulgaria: First-instance court confirms a fine of over € 8 mln on the distributor of Hyundai in Bulgaria for several hard-core vertical restrictions* At the very end of 2016, the Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court in its first-instance 3-member panel, confirmed one of the highest fines ever (...)

The Polish Competition Authority fines ski equipment wholesaler for vertical pricing restraints (Fordex)
WKB Wierciński Kwieciński Baehr (Warsaw)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Brussels)
In its decision in Case DOK-1/2016 of 23 December 2016, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (the “OCCP”) imposed a fine of PLN 72,345 (approx. EUR 16,500) on a ski equipment wholesaler Przedsiębiorstwo Produkcyjno-Handlowe Fordex sp. z o.o. (“Fordex”), for fixing the (...)

The EU Court of Justice Advocate General Wahl considers that derivative liability of parent company may not exceed that of its subsidiary (Heat stabilisers cartel)
Van Bael & Bellis
Under settled EU case law, a parent company may be held liable for the anticompetitive behaviour of its subsidiary even if the former has not directly participated in the infringement, provided the parent company is in a position to exercise decisive influence over its subsidiary and, in fact, (...)

The Polish Competition Authority fines gas boilers and water heaters producer for vertical price fixing (Termet)
WKB Wierciński Kwieciński Baehr (Warsaw)
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WKB Wierciński Kwieciński Baehr (Warsaw)
In its decision of 19 December 2016, the Polish Competition Authority (Prezes Urzędu Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentów, hereinafter referred to as the “OCCP President” or the “PCA”) fined Termet S.A. the amount of PLN 212,919.00 (approximately EUR 49,000.00) for imposing fixed resale prices (Resale (...)

The Polish administration adopts a new legal framework on counteracting the unfair use of contractual advantage
Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (Poland)
I. Introductory Remarks The act on counteracting the unfair use of contractual advantage in the trade in agricultural and food products of December 15, 2016, Journal of Laws of 2017, item 67 (hereinafter: the “Act”) will enter into force on 12 July 2017. It is the result of EU-wide discussions (...)

The UK CMA obtains a novel disqualification of an individual from holding company directorships and finds easier route to individual liability for cartel conduct (Mr Aston)
Peters & Peters
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Peters & Peters
An easier route to individual liability for cartel conduct?* On 1 December 2016, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) obtained a novel “disqualification undertaking” from Daniel Aston, the managing director of online poster supplier Trod Limited, whereby Mr Aston agreed not to act as a (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Czech Competition Authority accepts commitments in a case on alleged abuse of dominance by an energy company applying a pricing formula included in a long-term supply agreement (ČEZ)
Diwok Hermann Petsche (Baker McKenzie Vienna)
The Czech Competition Authority ("CCA") accepted in a decision of 20 December 2016 commitments offered by ČEZ, a partly state-owned Czech energy company, due to an alleged abuse of dominant position on the market for purchasing of brown coal. While the CCA refrained from final findings regarding (...)

The Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition imposes its second sanction for abuse of superior bargaining power (Kaufland)
Dimitrov, Petrov & Co (Sofia)
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Dimitrov, Petrov & Co (Sofia)
Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition imposed a second sanction for abuse of superior bargaining power* After the Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) imposed a sanction on Siemens EOOD for abuse of superior bargaining position in May 2016, at the end of the (...)

The Appeal Court of Ljubljana annuls a decision in relation to minor offence proceedings against a collecting society (SAZAS: Slovenian organization for collective management of copyrights for authors)
Fatur
Introduction In SAZAS case, the Slovenian Competition Protection Office (hereinafter referred to as the CPO) adopted a partial administrative decision in April 2011 (Case 306-35/2009-108), finding that Združenje skladateljev, avtorjev in založnikov za zaščito avtorskih pravic Slovenije (...)

Mergers

The Spanish Competition Authority clears a merger subject to remedies in the healthcare sector (Quironsalud / Fresenius Helios)
Callol, Coca & Asociados
The acquisition (Transaction) of Quironsalud by Fresenius Helios had been initially notified to the European Commission, who referred the Transaction to the SCA under Article 9 of the EU Merger Regulation. On 22 December 2016, the SCA issued its phase I decision authorizing the Transaction (...)

The Supreme Administrative Court of Czech Republic confirms fine for not complying with structural commitments imposed in merger approval decision (Rewe / Plus Discount)
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Prague)
On 21 December 2016, the Supreme Administrative court rejected cassation appeal of REWE Zentralfinanz eG (“REWE”) against the previous judgment of the Regional Court in Brno which rejected claim against the Czech Office for Protection of Competition (“Office”) alleging that the Office acted (...)

The Danish Maritime and Commercial Court requests the EU Court of Justice to provide guidance on gun-jumping test (Ernst & Young / KPMG)
Gorrissen Federspiel (Copenhagen)
CJEU requested to provide guidance on gun-jumping test* With Post Danmark I and II under their belts, it seems Danish courts are punching above their weight when it comes to contributing to the CJEU’s development of EU competition law through preliminary rulings. Yet another interesting (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission publishes its largest-ever negative State aid decision regarding tax arrangements, requiring Ireland to recover €13bn of aid (Apple)
Oxera (Oxford)
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Oxera (Brussels)
I. Introduction 1. On 30 August 2016, the European Commission announced its largest-ever negative State aid decision requiring Ireland to recover €13bn of aid (plus interest) from Apple as a result of its tax rulings with Ireland . In the year leading up to this announcement, the Commission (...)

Procedures

The Swedish government passes a new Competition damages act in order to implement the Directive on antitrust damages actions
Delphi (Stockholm)
The new Swedish Competition Damages Act* The Swedish implementation of the Directive on Antitrust Damages Actions (the “Directive”) is in force as of 27 December 2016 with the entering into force of the Swedish Competition Damages Act (Sw. Konkurrensskadelag (2016:964)) (the “Act”). The (...)

The UK Parliament implements the EU antitrust damages directive
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
The Damages Directive seeks to promote private enforcement of EU competition law before national courts across the European Union (the “EU”). The UK Regulations implementing the Directive were laid before Parliament on 20 December 2016 but will not come into force until after they have (...)

The English High Court rules that notes of witness interviews prepared by in-house and external counsel in the course of an internal investigation were not covered by legal advice privilege or lawyers’ working papers privilege (RBS Rights Issue Litigation)
Shearman & Sterling (London)
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Shearman & Sterling (London)
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Shearman & Sterling (London)
In December 2016, the English High Court ruled that transcripts, notes and other records of witness interviews prepared by in-house and external counsel in the course of an internal investigation were not covered by either legal advice privilege (“LAP”) or lawyers’ working papers privilege. The (...)

Regulatory

The Polish Competition Authority gains new powers to fight unfair practices in the food industry
Wiercinski Kwiecinski Baehr (Poznan)
The Polish Competition Authority gains new powers to fight unfair practices in the food industry* The Act on Combating Unfair Use of Contractual Advantage in Trading in Agricultural and Food Products (the “Act”) will enter into force in the mid-2017. The objective of the Act is to eliminate (...)

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