January 2003

Anticompetitive practices

The Japan Fair Trade Commission issues its recommendations against several participants in bidding for a construction contract and imposes remedies to the Mayor for ensure the competition between the participants (Iwamisawa Construction Association and Iwamisawa Piping Cooperative)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
JFTC recommendation to participants in bidding for a construction contract invited by Iwamizawa City and remedical actions requested of the Mayor of Iwamiawa City* As for the bidding called by Iwamisawa-City for a construction contract, 126 participants in bidding received FTC recommendation (...)

The Italian Antitrust Authority addresses the compatibility of certain distribution patterns common in the impulse ice-cream market (Sagit-Contratti Vendita e Distribuzione del Gelato)
Gatti Pavesi Bianchi
In two separate but related proceedings, the Italian Antitrust Authority ("IAA") addressed the compatibility of certain distribution patterns common in the Italian impulse ice-cream market, which often sees bars and restaurants being tied to the sale of a specific manufacturer ’s brand and/or (...)

The Italian Competition Authority finds no violation of the competition law by the contractual model used by ice cream manufacturer with its retailers and no foreclosure of the relevant market (Sagit, Samontana, Nestle and Gelati Sanson)
University College London
Background In July 2003, Sagit, a company headquartered in Italy and active in the production of frozen food and ice cream, submitted a voluntary disclosure, within the meaning of article 13 and 4 of law n. 287/90, of the contractual model it intended to apply in dealings with its retail (...)

The OFT closes investigation into a producer’s exclusivity clauses in distribution agreements following assurances (Bacardi)
Baker McKenzie (London)
On 30 January 2003, the Office of Fair Trading (« OFT ») announced that it would cease its investigation into Bacardi-Martini Limited (« Bacardi »). The investigation, which had begun following complaints made by Pernod Ricard S.A. (« Pernod »), the owner of the Havana Club brand, in relation to (...)

The Italian Competition Authority finds that exclusive agreements for the distribution of impulse ice-cream covering 57 % of retailers to have no cumulative anti-competitive effects (Sagit-Contratti Vendita e Distribuzione Gelato)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
By a decision worth reading the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) cleared a network of agreements concluded by Sagit, the Italian subsidiary of the Unilever group, for the distribution and commercialization of impulse ice creams it produced. First, the ICA found that the agreements did not (...)

The European Commission applies for the first time the new motor vehicle block exemption regulation in a case concerning authorized repairers (AUDI)
European Commission (DG NEAR)
"The first case of application of the new motor vehicle block exemption regulation: AUDI’s authorised repairers"* Introduction The new motor vehicle block exemption regulation (BER) entered into force on 1 October 2002. A one-year transitional period until 30 September 2003 is foreseen in the (...)

The French Competition Authority fines three companies for implementing anticompetitive practices in the hospital medical gas sector (Air Liquide santé France)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Medical gases for use in hospitals : the Conseil de la concurrence sanctions practices by two subsidiaries of the Air Liquide Group* Following a referral from the Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry, (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority fines over € 13 M shrimp wholesalers and fisheries for the first time on the basis of Art. 81 EC (North Sea Shrimp Sector)
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amstelveen)
On 14 January 2003 the Dutch Competition Authority imposed fines totalling an amount of € 13.781 million on eight shrimp wholesalers and four Dutch, three German and one Danish producer organisation in the shrimp fishery industry for an infringement of Article 81 (1) EC Treaty and the national (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the 2nd circuit rejects attempt by plaintiff to challenge under s. 1 of the Sherman Act conduct already subject to scrutiny by the SEC in a case involving alleged conspiracy among U.S. options exchanges (Stock Exchanges Options Trading)
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 (...)

Unilateral Practices

The French Competition Authority hands down interim measures to address competition concerns regarding broadcasting rights for French First League football matches (Ligue de Football Professionnel)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Broadcasting rights for French First League football matches - the Conseil de la concurrence hands down interim measures.* On 18th November 2002, the company TPS submitted to the Conseil de la concurrence an (...)

The Court of First Instance of Athens rejects the claim that a pharmaceutical company abused its dominant position by limiting the supply of certain drugs to the distributors in Greece in order to avoid parallel exports of its products (GlaxoSmithKline)
Agora Trading
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University of Reading
The facts In 2001 a distributor of pharmaceutical products lodged a complain to the Court of First Instance of Athens against its supplier claiming that the latter’s decision to stop supplying it with drugs (as it had been doing for 20 years) and to establish a new distribution network in the (...)

Mergers

The European Commission clears, subject to remedies and obligations, the acquisition by a Swiss-based packaging group of the French packaging company after the European Court of First Instance annulled its first decision to prohibit the merger (Tetra Laval/Sidel II)
European Commission - DG ECFIN
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European Commission - DG COMP
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European Commission - DG GROW
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st January 2003 and 30th April 2003"* On 13 January 2003, the Commission decided not to oppose the acquisition by Tetra Laval B.V., which belongs to the Swiss-based Tetra Laval Group, the owner of the Tetra Pak packaging businesses, of the French (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority clears a merger in the telecommunication services market with remedies, including divestiture and hold separate agreements (Sonera/Telekolmio)
Grant Thornton (Helsinki)
The operation On 3 January 2003 the Finnish Competition Authority cleared, in a Phase II decision, a merger in which the Finnish telecommunications company Sonera Oyj acquired from Hämeen Puhelin Oy a 40% minority holding in Telekolmio Oy, a retailer of telecommunication services including (...)

State Aid

The European Court of Justice clarifies the interpretation of the private investor principle in cases involving privatisations at a negative sales price (Gröditzer Stahlwerke)
European Commission - DG COMP
"The market investor principle in privatisations – European Court of Justice upholds the Commission’s decision on Gröditzer Stahlwerke GmbH"* Introduction On 28 January 2003, the European Court of Justice (‘the Court’ or ‘the ECJ’) upheld (‘the judgement’) the Commission’s partially negative decision (...)

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