July 2002

Anticompetitive practices

The German Competition Authority conducts an inquiry on the suspicion that removal firms concluded price-fixing and market allocation agreements regarding contracts for shipping household effects (US armed forces)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Search conducted in removal firms in close coordination with US cartel authorities* Parallel to investigatory measures by the US competition authorities, the Bundeskartellamt conducted a search operation on 31 July 2002 on the suspicion that removal firms have for several years concluded and (...)

The European Commission adopts an exemption decision on multilateral interchange fees clarifying the application of the competition rules to card payment systems (Visa International)
Hong Kong’s Competition Commission
"Clarifying the application of the competition rules to card payment systems: the Commission’s exemption decision on the Multilateral Interchange Fees of Visa International"* On 24 July 2002 the Commission adopted an exemption decision in its case concerning certain ‘multilateral interchange (...)

The European Commission fines participants in the Dutch industrial gases cartel (AGA, Air Liquide, Air Products Nederland, BOC Group, Messer Nederland, NV Hoek Loos and Westfalen Gassen Nederland)
European Commission - DG DIGIT
"Commission fines participants in the industrial gases cartel"* On 24 July 2002, the Commission fined AGA AB, Air Liquide BV, Air Products Nederland BV, BOC Group plc, Messer Nederland BV, NV Hoek Loos and Westfalen Gassen Nederland NV a total of € 25.72 for participating in a secret cartel in (...)

The German Competition Authority informs that there were no competition concerns regarding a cooperation between housing companies and a telecom company (KDG / Deutsche Telekom)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
No concerns regarding close cooperation in the broadband cable sector* The Bundeskartellamt has no concerns regarding a close cooperation between Kabel Deutschland GmbH (KDG, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG in charge of the broadband cable business) and housing companies. According to a (...)

The European Commission grants an exemption on the basis of art. 81(3) of the EC Treaty concerning a cooperation agreement in the air transport sector (Lufthansa/Austrian Airlines)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Aviation: Combining network synergies and competition — the Commission’s approval of the LH-AuA Alliance"* 1. Introduction The liberalisation of the European air transport market during the 1990s has triggered a process of consolidation in the European airline industry. Apart from mergers, (...)

The European Commission adopts cartel decision imposing fines in methionine (animal feed) cartel (Degussa and Nippon Soda Company)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Commission adopts cartel decision imposing fines in methionine (animal feed) cartel"* On 2 July 2002, the Commission fined Degussa AG and Nippon Soda Company Ltd respectively € 118 million and € 9 million for participating in a price-fixing cartel in methionine together with Aventis SA. Aventis (...)

The US FTC publishes a report on generic drug entry prior to patent expiration raising issues on patent-shortening settlement agreements
White & Case (Washington)
The Federal Trade Commission’s recent report, Generic Drug Entry Prior to Patent Expiration (Federal Trade Commission, Generic Drug Entry Prior to Patent Expiration: An FTC Study, July 2002, ("FTC Report")), raises a number of competition issues that merit further discussion and research. This (...)

Unilateral Practices

The French Competition Authority ends ban on ADSL packs provided by telecom incumbent (Wanadoo eXtense)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. High-speed ADSL Internet access : the Conseil de la concurrence lifts the suspension on sales of Wanadoo "eXtense" packs in France Télécom outlets* In a decision dated 19th July 2002, the Conseil lifted the (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority draws up a report on the five mobile telephone operators, who entered into an agreement to reduce jointly and almost simultaneously the fee paid to dealers for selling telephone subscriptions (Vodafone / KPN Mobile / Dutchtone / Ben Nederland / O2)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Draws up a Report on Mobile Telephone Operators* Following an investigation, the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has drawn up a report on the five mobile telephone operators due to an agreement entered into by Vodafone N.V., KPN Mobile N.V., Dutchtone N.V., Ben Nederland B.V. and (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority establishes the illegal character of the resale prohibition imposed by pharmaceutical company on hospitals (AstraZeneca)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa: Prohibition by AstraZeneca on Sales to Third Parties Contravenes Competition Act* The prohibition against supplying parties outside the premises of hospitals, imposed on hospitals and pharmacies by AstraZeneca, contravenes the Competition Act. NMa made this ruling in a decision relating (...)

The European Commission formally rejects two complaints in the electronic monitoring services field (On Guard Plus, Elmo-Tech)
European Commission - DG MARE
"The Commission formally rejects two complaints in the electronic monitoring services field"* 1. The complaints On 19 November 2001 (‘the first complaint’) and 1 July 2002 (‘the second complaint’) respectively, the UK-based firm On Guard Plus Ltd. (“OGPL”) filed complaints against the Israel-based (...)

Mergers

The European Commission clears an acquisition in the textile industry (Promatech/Sulzer Textil)
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 May 2002 and 31th August 2002"* Following referral of the case by a group of member states according to Article 22 (3) of the Merger Regulation, the European Commission cleared the acquisition of Sulzer Textil, the textile machinery division of (...)

The European Commission grants clearance to the proposed acquisition of British cruise operator by US-based cruise operator (Carnival/ P&O Princess)
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 May 2002 and 31th August 2002"* The European Commission granted clearance under the European Union’s Merger Regulation to the proposed acquisition of British cruise operator P&O Princess Plc by US-based cruise operator Carnival Corp. The (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Council clears a merger in the fixed, mobile and other related telecommunications markets with a commitment to notify any further structural changes (Telia/Sonera)
Vodafone (Istanbul)
The operation By a decision dated 18 July 2002, the Lithuanian Competition Council authorized in phase II the merger of TELIA AB (« Telia ») and SONERA CORPORATION (« Sonera »). In Lithuania Telia and Sonera controlled indirectly (through Amber Teleholding AB and Amber Mobile Teleholding AB) AB (...)

The European Commission gives the go ahead to the proposed acquisition of Finnish-based telecommunications group by Sweden telecoms firm (Telia/Sonera)
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 May 2002 and 31th August 2002"* The European Commission gave the go ahead to the proposed acquisition of Finnish-based telecommunications group Sonera Corp. by Sweden’s Telia AB, another telecoms firm. The Commission feared that the deal—the first (...)

The French Ministry of economics unconditionally authorises the proposed acquisition of a French home appliances manufacturer’s assets by a competitor under the failing firm defence (SEB / Moulinex)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Paris)
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Tech Data
Background. When Moulinex was put into administration in 2001 competitor SEB submitted, amongst others, an offer to purchase Moulinex ’ manufacturing sites and trading subsidiaries in France, Spain, Germany and several non-EU countries. SEB was conditionally retained by the judicial (...)

The German Competition Authority approves conditionally an acquisition in the local transport sector (DB / Stadt- und Regionalbus Göttingen)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Merger between DB AG and Stadt- und Regionalbus Göttingen cleared under strict obligations directed at opening up the market* The Bundeskartellamt has approved plans of Deutsche Bahn AG to acquire a 49.9% share in the company Stadt- und Regionalbus Göttingen GmbH (SRG) via its subsidiary (...)

The EU Commission authorizes the acquisition of the whole of German oil and petrochemicals producer holding that the change from joint to sole control does not give rise to competition concerns (BP / Veba Oel)
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 May 2002 and 31th August 2002"* The European Commission authorised BP Plc’s proposed acquisition of the whole of German oil and petrochemicals producer Veba Oel, currently a joint venture between BP and E.ON. The Commission concluded that the (...)

Procedures

The Spanish Competition Authority defines the scope of protection of legal privilege (Pepsi-Cola/Coca-Cola)
Martinez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann (Madrid)
The Tribunal de Defensa de la Competencia (TDC) issued on 22 July 2002 a decision in which it established that documents created by companies in the context of their defence in competition proceedings before the European Commission did not have to be delivered to the Servicio de Defensa de la (...)

Regulatory

The German Competition Authority initiates proceedings against the regional electricity supplier on suspicion of excessive metering and billing prices charged to load profiled customers (Wemag / RWE)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt puts electricity metering prices to the test - test cases against Wemag and RWE Net* The Bundeskartellamt has initiated proceedings against the regional electricity supplier Wemag AG, Schwerin (Vattenfall group) and RWE Net AG, Dortmund, on suspicion of excessive metering and (...)

Public sector

The German Competition Authority rejects application to allow an award of public contract for setting up and operating a distance-related toll levied on lorries on German motorways before the conclusion of the review proceedings (Die Bietergemeinschaft ETC.de)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt rejects application for premature allowance to award contract in lorry toll proceedings* The Bundeskartellamt has rejected the application of the Federal Ministry of Transport (contracting entity) to be allowed to award the contract for setting up and operating a (...)

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