July 2013

Anticompetitive practices

The Bulgarian Competition Authority fines three sunflower oil producers and their distributors for entering into vertical agreements aimed at restricting competition in the bottled sunflower oil market
Van Bael & Bellis
The Bulgarian Competition Authority has fined three sunflower oil producers and five of their distributors a total of more than BGN 2 million (around € 1 million) for entering into vertical agreements aimed at restricting competition on the bottled sunflower oil market by means of fixing (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes fines on account of vertical price fixing practices on the market for distribution of natural cosmetics (Dr. Hauschka)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Fine imposed on WALA Heilmittel GmbH for vertical price fixing practices involving Dr Hauschka cosmetics products* Bonn, 31 July 2013: Today the Bundeskartellamt has imposed fines amounting to a total of approx. € 6.5 million on WALA Heilmittel GmbH, Bad Boll, and representatives of the (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority initiates a sector inquiry on the online room reservation market of the tourism sector
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
Sector inquiry on the market of online room reservations* Pursuant to Article 43/C of the Competition Act, the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) has initiated a sector inquiry on the online room reservation market of the tourism sector in order to familiarise itself with and evaluate the (...)

The Shanxi Province government adopts measures to curb the alleged continuous downward trend of coal prices
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
,
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
,
Institute of American Studies
A series of measures related to the coal industry have been adopted in the Shanxi Province. The Joint Sales Implementation Plan for Coal Chemical Enterprises in South East Shanxi Province (Exposure Draft) (Plan) implements the Measures on the Further Improvement of the Development Mode of (...)

The German Competition Authority continues to view the best price clause used by a hotel booking portal in a critical manner (HRS)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt continues to view HRS’s best price clause critically* The Bundeskartellamt has confirmed its competition concerns about the best price clause used by the hotel booking portal HRS. After examining the statements of HRS and all other relevant market participants, the (...)

The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority announces that a white goods manufacturer has accepted to pay a fine of € 161,000 for having entered into illegal price maintenance agreements with its dealers and for having prevented parallel imports (Miele)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 25 July 2013, the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (“DCCA”) announced that the white goods manufacturer Miele A/S has accepted to pay a fine of DKK 1.2 million (around € 161,000) for having entered into illegal price maintenance agreements with its dealers and for having prevented (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority conducts dawn raids at the premises of the incumbent on the Belgian market for lotteries and betting (Nationale Loterij/Loterie Nationale)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a press release of 25 July 2013, the College of Competition Prosecutors confirmed that it had carried out dawn raids on 23 July 2013 at the premises of Nationale Loterij/Loterie Nationale, the incumbent on the Belgian market for lotteries and betting. Reportedly, the dawn raids follow (...)

The German Competition Authority expresses concerns about best price clauses for operator of internet platform (HRS-Hotel Reservation Service)
European Commission (Brussels)
Germany: The Bundeskartellamt expresses Concerns about Best Price Clauses for Operator of Internet Platform* On 25 July 2013, the Bundeskartellamt (BKartA) addressed a second statement of objections to HRS-Hotel Reservation Service Robert Ragge GmbH, Cologne (HRS), a hotel booking platform. A (...)

The Israeli Antitrust General Director applies a "Self Assessment" regime on non-horizontal restrictive arrangements
Eshel, Ashlagi, Rozent Law Offices (Bnei-Brak)
,
Eshel, Ashlagi, Rozent Law Offices (Bnei-Brak)
Introduction On July 25, 2013, the Restrictive Trade Practices General Director (the "General Director") issued a new block exemption - the Restrictive Trade Practices Rules (Block Exemption for Non-Horizontal Arrangements which do not Include Certain Price Restrictions), 2013 (the "Block (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes fines for agreements to the detriment of local public transport companies, private, regional and industrial railways and construction companies (ThyssenKrupp / Gleistechnik /voestalpine / Butzbach /Schreck-Mieves)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt punishes more agreements between rail manufacturers* Fines totalling almost 100 million euros imposed for agreements to the detriment of local public transport companies, private, regional and industrial railways and construction companies On 23 July 2013 the Bundeskartellamt (...)

The Portuguese Competition, Regulation and Supervision Court declares cartel offense to be time-barred, but upholds decision imposing fines on information exchange infringement (Canteen Cartel)
Abreu Advogados
Following the Portuguese Competition Authority (PCA) decision dated 30 December 2009 imposing a total EUR 14,720,283.27 fine on five undertakings operating on the Portuguese foodservice/catering market - Eurest (Portugal) – Sociedade Europeia de Restaurantes e Alimentação, Lda. (“Eurest”), (...)

The Presidium of the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia approves guidelines on the procedure and technique of analysis of joint venture agreements containing non-compete clauses
White & Case (Moscow)
,
White & Case (Moscow)
On 18 July 2013, the Presidium of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS of Russia) approved Guidelines on the Procedure and Technique of Analysis of Joint Venture Agreements Containing Non-Compete Clauses. The purpose of the Guidelines is to set a uniform approach to the assessment of the (...)

The Danish Public Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime settles with a cartel participant, major player in the market for white goods (Miele)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Miele A/S, Denmark, pays fine in settlement for resale price maintenance and prevention of parallel imports on white goods* On July 18, 2013, Miele A/S, Denmark, entered into a settlement with the Danish Public Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime for infringing section 6 of (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority sanctions a cartel of national manufacturers of flexible polyurethane foam under Art. 101 TFEU and national equivalent (Comfort foam cartel)
Eduardo Paz Ferreira & Associados
On the 18th July 2013, the Portuguese Competition Authority (AdC) adopted a decision identifying a 10 year long cartel between three Portuguese manufacturers of flexible polyurethane foam (Flex, Flexipol and Eurospuma). According to the AdC, these undertakings exchanged sensitive information, (...)

The Romanian Competition Council opens an investigation regarding a possible cartel in the Romanian market for dairy products
Mircea & Partners (Bucharest)
The Romanian Competition Council opened an investigation regarding a possible cartel in the Romanian market for dairy products* On 18 July 2013, simultaneous dawn raids of the Romanian Competition Council took place at the headquarters of several dairy producers. The Romanian Competition (...)

The District Court of Rotterdam rules on its jurisdiction regarding private damages claim against cartel participants residing outside the Netherlands (Stichting Elevator Cartel Claim)
Allen & Overy (Amsterdam)
,
Allen & Overy (Amsterdam)
The parties Stichting Elevator Cartel Claim (SECC) v. Kone B.V., Kone GMBH, Kone Oyj, Kone Luxembourg Sàrl, Kone Belgium S.A. (jointly Kone c.s.), Thyssenkrupp Liften Ascenseurs N.V.-S.A., Thyssenkrupp Liften B.V., Thyssenkrupp Aufzuge GmbH, Thyssenkrupp Fahrtreppen GmbH, Thyssenkrupp Elevator (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority finds resale price maintenance practices on the sunflower oil market (Kaliakra)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 17 July 2013 the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) prosecuted the producer of bottled sunflower oil Kaliakra AD (Kaliakra) and its distributors for engaging in the resale price maintenance (RPM) practices. The CPC’s investigation was commenced after the completion of the sector inquiry (...)

The Chinese NDRC probes a case of price fixing in the industry for gold & jewellery (SGJTA)
AnJie Law (Beijing)
,
AnJie Law (Beijing)
Jewelers among the Antitrust Storm* Background Following a sweep on baby formula manufacturers and the packaging giant (i.e. Tetra Pak), the young but powerful Chinese antitrust watchdogs have probed gold jewellers in Shanghai and the Shanghai Gold & Jewellery Industry Association (the (...)

The National Court rejects that a public entity exceeding its legal authority, but not acting as an economic operator, can be held responsible for participating in anticompetitive conduct (Junta de Andalucía)
Cuatrecasas, Goncalves Pereira (Madrid)
,
Cuatrecasas, Goncalves Pereira (Barcelone)
,
Cuatrecasas, Goncalves Pereira (Madrid)
On July 16, 2013, the National Court issued judgment number 3472/2013 on the appeal the Junta de Andalucía submitted against the decision of the Comisión Nacional de la Competencia (Spanish Competition Commission, “CNC”), of October 6, 2011. The National Court considered that when a public entity (...)

The US FTC releases draft strategic plan for 2014-2018
Jones Day (Washington)
,
Jones Day (Washington)
,
Jones Day (Washington)
The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") has released a draft Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2014-2018 (the "2014 Plan"). Despite the ambitious title, the 2014 Plan actually focuses on a small number of procedural issues. It provides no indication of the FTC’s likely substantive agenda or (...)

The German Competition Authority issues a fining decision against companies in the flour milling industry (Verband Deutscher Mühlen)
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
Trade Associations Face Antitrust Challenges in Medical and Flour Association Cases* Two competition law cases caught my eye this morning in my daily media sweep involving trade associations – one with allegations of price-fixing against German flour mills and the other with a challenge by the (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission takes action against a supplier of ball and roller bearings for alleged cartel conduct (Koyo)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC takes action against Koyo for alleged cartel conduct* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has instituted civil proceedings in the Federal Court against Koyo Australia Pty Ltd (Koyo) for alleged cartel conduct relating to the supply of ball and roller bearings for use in (...)

The German Competiton Authority imposes fines for rail cartel infringement (Moravia Steel)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
€ 10 million fine imposed on Moravia Steel in rail cartel case* Today the Bundeskartellamt imposed a fine of € 10 million on Moravia Steel Deutschland GmbH. The authority has thus concluded its investigation proceedings against manufacturers and suppliers of rails on account of anticompetitive (...)

A Dutch court annuls two cartel decisions for misuse of telephone taps (Constructions cartel and ship waste cartel)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
With two judgements of 13 June 2013 and 11 July 2013, the Rotterdam District Court annulled the decisions of the Dutch competition authority (now “ACM”) in a constructions cartel and a ship waste cartel. According to the Court, the telephone taps which provided evidence of the cartels could (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes last fine in rail track cartel case (Moravia, ThyssenKrupp, Stahlberg Roensch, TSTG)
Van Bael & Bellis
According to a press release of 11 July 2013, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) has imposed a fine of € 10 million on Moravia Steel Deutschland GmbH (“Moravia”) for having engaged in bid-rigging in the supply of rails to Deutsche Bahn AG in the period from 2001 to 2009. According to (...)

The EU General Court dismisses the parallel actions brought by two diamonds dealers against the Commission’s decisions not to open an antitrust investigation into certain distribution agreements established by world’s largest producer of rough diamonds (BVGD, Spira, De Beers)
Mircea & Partners (Bucharest)
I. Introduction Any natural or legal person who can show a legitimate interest may lodge a complaint concerning an antitrust infringement as stipulated by article 7 of the Regulation No 1/2003. The Commission is not required to investigate each of the complaints lodged with it, but only to (...)

The US Southern District of New York holds that antitrust plaintiffs need not show that conspiracy is the sole inference from the evidence (Apple)
Cohen Milstein (Washington)
,
Cohen Milstein (New York)
In this prominent case, the United States and 33 states and U.S. territories brought civil suits against Apple Inc. and five book publishing companies, alleging that they conspired and acted together, in violation of United States antitrust law, to cause the publishing industry to move from a (...)

The French Competition Authority carries out an inquiry in the area of prescription medicine distribution in private practices
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Autorité de la concurrence is submitting to public consultation an initial assessment in which it has identified several potential sticking points* Medicinal products are the second-largest (...)

The EU Commission fines € 141.8 M four producers of wire harnesses for rigging a series of tenders in breach of Article 101 TFEU (Automotive component suppliers’ cartel)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 10 July 2013, the European Commission announced that it had adopted a decision fining four producers of wire harnesses a total of € 141.8 million for rigging a series of tenders in breach of Article 101 TFEU. In its decision, the Commission found that five companies – Sumitomo, Yazaki, (...)

The US Court of Southern District of New York clarifies what determines liability of the vertical participant B in an A-B-C information exchange (Apple)
University of Cambridge
e-books: Vertical participation in hub and spoke agreements* The 10 July judgment in the American e-books case (US v Apple) addresses an important question not yet examined under European competition law: what determines the liability of the vertical participant (“B”) in an A-B-C information (...)

The UK Office of Fair Trading publishes revised guidance on applications for leniency and no-action in cartel cases
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 8 July 2013, the UK’s Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) published its revised guidance on applications for leniency and no-action in cartel cases. The publication follows two earlier consultations on the subject in October 2011 and October 2012 (see VBB on Competition, Volume 2011, No. 10) (...)

The Netherlands ACM calls for clearer and simpler contracts between breweries and business owners in the accommodation and food services industry
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM in favor of clearer contracts with breweries* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) calls for clearer and simpler contracts between breweries and business owners in the accommodation and food services industry. Clearer and simpler contracts help strengthen the position (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority imposes fines on three entities for setting up a traceability system that led to restrictions of sales of a specific sort of tangerine (Nadorcott Protection, Carpa Dorada, Club de Variedades Vegetales Protegidas)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 4 July 2013, the CNC fined three entities for setting up a traceability system that led to restrictions of sales of the Nadorcott tangerine. The fined entities were the holder of the Community plant variety rights for the Nadorcott tangerine (Nadorcott Protection, S.A.R.L.); an (...)

The EU Court of Justice rejects Commission’s appeal against General Court judgment in copper fittings cartel case (Aalberts)
Van Bael & Bellis
In the final of a series of appeals in the copper fittings cartel case, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”), on 4 July 2013, dismissed an appeal by the Commission against a General Court (“GC”) judgment that upheld an appeal by Aalberts against the European Commission’s (...)

The Chinese NDRC announces an antitrust investigation into foreign manufacturers of infant milk formula
University of East Anglia - CCP (Norwich)
Article published on Centre for Competition Policy blog. Chinese Milk Powder Case: How Should We Interpret a Price Cut on the Announcement of an Antitrust Investigation?* Earlier this month, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced an investigation into foreign (...)

The German Competition Authority concludes a cartel administrative proceeding against an ophthalmologists cooperative and a health insurance fund (Augenärztegenossenschaft Brandenburg / AOK Nordost)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt opens up competition among ophthalmologists from different federal states in Germany* The Bundeskartellamt has concluded a cartel administrative proceeding against the Brandenburg ophthalmologists cooperative "Augenärztegenossenschaft Brandenburg" and the health insurance fund (...)

A New Zealand High Court approves settlement in a long-running air cargo cartel case (Air New Zealand)
New Zealand Commerce Commission
Press releases published on New Zealand Commerce Commission Air New Zealand final airline to settle with Commerce Commission in air cargo case* The High Court has approved a settlement under which Air New Zealand will pay a $7.5 million penalty for price-fixing in breach of the Commerce Act. (...)

Unilateral Practices

The German Competition Authority issues a statement of objections against a dominant retailer for abusive practices against economically dependent suppliers on the market for sales of sparkling wine (EDEKA)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Statement of objections issued against EDEKA for use of "wedding rebates" after Plus takeover - Bundeskartellamt considers demands on suppliers as abusive* Bonn, 26 July 2013: According to the Bundeskartellamt’s preliminary assessment, EDEKA Zentrale AG & Co.KG, Hamburg, has violated the (...)

The French Competition Authority closes a case after plaintiff withdrawed its complaint relating to access to infrastructure facilities in the telecom sector (Free / Orange)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Orange and Free have ended a dispute brought before the Autorité de la concurrence relating to conditions for access to the incumbent operator’s civil engineering infrastructure. The agreement entered into by (...)

The German Competition Authority finds violation of the prohibition to grant certain benefits without any objective justification (EDEKA)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Statement of objections issued against EDEKA for use of "wedding rebates" after Plus takeover Bundeskartellamt considers demands on suppliers as abusive* According to the Bundeskartellamt’s preliminary assessment, EDEKA Zentrale AG & Co.KG, Hamburg, has violated the so-called "Anzapfverbot" (...)

The Higher Regional Court of Naumburg decides on the compliance of post-contractual non-compete obligations under antitrust rules (Hubarbeitsmaschinen)
Commeo
The Higher Regional Court of Naumburg (“the Court”) deals in its decision of 18 July 2013 inter alia with the question whether post-contractual non-compete obligations are still in compliance with antitrust rules in case their duration exceeds five years. The Court came to the conclusion that a (...)

The Competition Tribunal of South Africa confirms the second significant administrative penalty imposed on the national incumbent provider of fixed line telecommunication services for engaging in the practice of margin squeeze (Telkom)
Nortons Incorporated
South Africa: Telkom fined again…* South Africa’s Competition Tribunal had a busy week last week tasked with considering the proposed penalties for the various construction companies and also confirming the second significant administrative penalty on South Africa’s incumbent provider of fixed (...)

The European Commission issues statement of objections for alleged abuse of dominant position on Austrian waste management markets (Altstoff Recycling Austria)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 July 2013, the Commission issued a press release announcing that it has issued a Statement of Objections against Altstoff Recycling Austria AG ("ARA") alleging that ARA may have abused its dominant position on the markets for the management of packaging waste (mainly packaging made (...)

A US Court of Appeals affirms the order of dismissal as the allegation of a relevant market of black hot rolled coiled steel was insufficient as a matter of law failing to negate the likelihood of supply-side entry (Gulf States / Nucor)
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
Failure to Adequately Allege Lack of Supply Cross-Elasticity Dooms Attempted Monopolization Action to “Quick Look” Dismissal* GULF STATES REORGANIZATION GROUP, INC. V. NUCOR CORP. (11th Cir. July 15, 2013) No. 11-14983. In 1999, Gulf States Steel, Inc., a participant in a market described as (...)

The Ankara Administrative Court annuls the decision of the TCA which rejected the alleged predatory pricing and abuse of regulatory procedures of the national flag carrier airline of Turkey (Turkish Airlines/Pegasus)
University of Sussex
This study analyses the decision of the Ankara Administrative Court in which it has annulled the decision of Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) to reject the allegations that Turkish Airlines engaged in predatory pricing and abused regulatory procedures in the market for domestic and (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority sanctions water and sewage company for unjustified refusal to deal (WSV)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 11 July 2013 the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) prosecuted the sole provider of water and sewage services in the city of Vidin for abuse of dominant position in the form of refusal to deal – denial of access to its infrastructure and refusal to re-instate the supply. The CPC’s (...)

The Paris Court of appeal upholds the competition authority’s decision holding that a parent company and its subsidiary are jointly liable for an abuse of dominance in the french overseas departments (Orange Caraïbe)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Paris)
Introduction On July 4 2013, the Paris Court of Appeal upheld for the most part the decision of the French competition authority (the ADLC) imposing a 60 million euro fine on Orange Caraïbe and its parent company France Télécom for having abused their dominant position in the French overseas (...)

The European Commission initiates proceedings against a gas supplier and its subsidiaries for alleged abuse of dominance in the Bulgarian natural gas markets (Bulgarian Energy Holding)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a press release of 5 July 2012, the Commission announced that it opened proceedings against Bulgarian Energy Holding (“BEH”), its gas supply subsidiary Bulgargaz, and its gas infrastructure subsidiary Bulgartransgaz. The Commission stated that it has concerns that BEH and its (...)

Mergers

The US FTC agrees to "unusual" remedy in hospitals merger case (Phoebe Putney Health System)
Jones Day (Washington)
,
Jones Day (Washington)
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has settled its long running dispute with the Phoebe Putney Health System, Palmyra Park Hospital, and the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County over the Hospital Authority’s acquisition of Palmyra in Albany, Georgia. Memorialized in a consent decree, the (...)

The New Zealand Commerce Commission clears acqusition in the sector for kidney dialysis systems for the treatment of acute and chronic kidney disorders (Baxter / Gambro)
New Zealand Commerce Commission
Press releases published on New Zealand Commerce Commission Baxter International cleared to acquire Gambro AB subject to a divestment undertaking* The Commerce Commission has cleared Baxter International Inc (Baxter) to acquire 100% of the shares in Gambro AB (Gambro). The clearance is (...)

The German Competition Authority forbids a previously approved acquisition in the healthcare sector since the acquirer no longer intends to comply with conditions for clearance (Asklepios / Rhön)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Participation of Asklepios Group in rival Rhön-Klinikum retroactively prohibited - Asklepios no longer intends to comply with condition for clearance (sale of Goslar clinics)* Bonn, 30 July 2013: In spring this year the Bundeskartellamt approved plans by Asklepios Kliniken (...)

The French Competition Authority clears, subject to conditions, the merger between two companies manufacturing earthenware construction materials (Bouyer-Leroux / Imerys TC)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Autorité de la concurrence clears, subject to conditions, the acquisition of Imerys TC assets by Bouyer-Leroux. The commitments made by Bouyer-Leroux enable the removal of all risks to competition in the (...)

The German Competition Authority clears the acquisition of a fireworks business by one of the major domestic suppliers (FKW Keller / Comet Feuerwerk)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt clears acquisition of fireworks importer FKW Keller, Bochum, by Comet Feuerwerk GmbH, Bremerhaven, in the first phase of merger control* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared the acquisition of the fireworks business of FKW Keller, Bochum, by Comet Feuerwerk GmbH in preliminary (...)

The Namibian Competition Commission prohibits energy merger deal under the new merger control regime (Namox/Puma)
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
On 22 July 2013, the Competition Commission of Namibia prohibited the acquisition of Puma Pty Ltd’s Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) by Namox Pty Ltd for two main reasons: (i) the merger would have increased the concentration and consolidated the dominant position of the merged entity in the market (...)

The German Competition Authority clears acquisition on the market for cash handling services (Prosegur Compania de Seguridad / Brink)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt clears mergers of cash handling services (CIT) companies* Prosegur’s acquisition of Brink’s only cleared subject to conditions relating to the Berlin market The Bundeskartellamt has cleared the acquisition of Brink’s Deutschland GmbH and Brink’s Transport und Service GmbH by the (...)

The UK OFT clears acquisition in the broadcasting sector (BT / ESPN)
DLA Piper
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has cleared British Telecoms plc’s (BT) proposed acquisition of ESPN Global Ltd (ESPN), despite finding that the failing firm defence was not fulfilled. Factual Background ESPN was a wholly owned subsidiary of the US based television sports broadcaster ESPN (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority seeks to block acquisition in the sector for wholesale services market for locksmiths (Assa Abloy / Prokey)
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
The Swedish Competition Authority want to stop Assa Abloy from acquiring Prokey* The planned acquisition of Prokey AB by Assa Abloy AB means that Assa Abloy would gain a monopoly position in the wholesale services market for locksmiths. The Swedish Competition Authority is therefore taking the (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority requests prohibition of acquisition in locksmith sector (Assa Abloy / Prokey)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 12 July 2013, the Swedish Competition Authority (SCA) announced that it has submitted an application to the Stockholm City Court requesting the prohibition of a planned acquisition of locksmiths company Prokey AB by Assa Abloy AB. Prokey is one of two companies active in the wholesale (...)

The French Competition Authority clears, subject to commitments, an acquisition of sole control in the market of food retail (Casino / Monoprix)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Autorité de la concurrence clears, subject to commitments, the acquisition of sole control of Monoprix by Casino Casino undertakes to divest 55 shops in Paris and 3 in the French département of Var and in (...)

The Irish Competition Authority clears an acquisition of certain assets partly implemented prior to clearance on the market for crisps and snacks (Top Snacks & KP Snacks)
Irish Competition Authority
Acquisition by Top Snacks Limited of the KP Snacks business from United Biscuits (UK) Limited* Publication of the Determination The Authority has published on its website the public version of the full text of its Determination concerning the proposed transaction whereby Intersnack (...)

The Irish Competition Authority unconditionally clears an acquisition in the food sector after a phase 2 investigation (Top Snacks/KP Snacks)
Matheson (Dublin)
Introduction On 18 December 2012, the proposed acquisition of KP Snacks by Top Snacks Limited (“Top Snacks”) was notified to the Competition Authority (the “Authority”) pursuant to section 18 of the Competition Act 2002 (the “Act”). The seller of the KP Snacks business was United Biscuits (UK) (...)

State Aid

The European Commission approves a new set of guidelines on regional aid for the period between 2014 and 2020
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Abbie (Wavre)
The European Commission has approved a new set of guidelines on regional aid for the period between 2014 and 2020 (the “Regional Aid Guidelines”). Regional aid covers operating and investment aid granted by public authorities to enterprises in Europe’s most disadvantaged regions and regions (...)

The European Commission holds that even when a public authority invests together with private investors on pari passu terms, the expected profitability of the project should still be demonstrated in order to comply with State Aid rules (Project Consorzio Casalasco del Pomodoro)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Application of the Market Economy Investor Principle to a Company Processing Agricultural Products* When a public entity injects fresh capital in a company in which it is already a shareholder, the new capital does not constitute State aid when it satisfies three conditions: i) all (...)

The European Commission opens public consultation on reform of state aid de minimis regulation
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Abbie (Wavre)
The European Commission has opened a public consultation on reform of the de minimis Regulation. According to this Regulation, aid measures below a certain threshold do not constitute state aid in the meaning of EU state aid rules because they have no impact on competition and trade in (...)

The European Commission opens public consultation on new state aid rules in the aviation industry
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Abbie (Wavre)
The European Commission has opened a consultation into the EU state aid rules in the aviation section. Due to a heavily changed market environment over the last decade, the European Commission considers it necessary to review the rules on public financing of airports and start-up aid to (...)

The EU Commission decides that the measure for the development of sustainable tourism had no impact on intra-EU trade and, consequently, did not constitute state aid (NUTS II region Southeast)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog How Not to Determine the Effect on Trade [Infrastructure for Tourism, Czech Republic (SA.35909)]* Introduction Normally the articles in this blog identify landmark court rulings and seminal decisions of the Commission which set important precedents (...)

Procedures

The Southern District of California refuses to certify nationwide classes in nearly identical “all natural” cases brought against Kashi producers for false advertising (Astiana/Kashi)
Cohen Milstein (Washington)
,
Cohen Milstein (New York)
Purchasers of Kashi food products brought a class action for alleged unfair business practices and false advertising, asserting that advertisements claiming Kashi products contained “nothing artificial” and were “all natural” were false and misleading. Defendants argued that the plaintiffs were (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority initiates an inquiry into the online room reservation sector
European Commission (Brussels)
Hungary: Launch of Inquiry into Online Room Reservations Sector* On 29 July 2013, the GVH (the Hungarian Competition Authority) initiated an inquiry into the online room reservation sector. The objective pursued by the GVH is to become familiar with and evaluate the processes involved in the (...)

The UK High Court opts for targeted disclosure in private stand-alone claim against web search engine provider (Foundem / Google)
The University of Manchester
Background On 30 November 2010, the EU Commission (the “Commission”) announced that it had opened an investigation into allegations that Google has abused its dominant position, contrary to Article 102 TFEU, following multiple complaints. On 21 May 2012, the Commission published its preliminary (...)

The US District Court for Western District highlights the unique damages theory, which requires plaintiffs to “show that the method of calculating damages measures ‘only those damages attributable to that theory’ of injury asserted by the plaintiffs (Barfield/Sho-Me Power)
Cohen Milstein (Washington)
,
Cohen Milstein (New York)
Missouri landowners brought a class action asserting that electric companies that had easements over their properties for the transmission of electricity had exceeded the scope of their easements, by also transmitting fiber optic communications through the properties in addition to electricity. (...)

A Dutch District Court disallows ACM from using data obtained through wiretaps in two cases (Groep / Burando)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM to appeal Court’s ruling against use of wiretap data* The District Court of Rotterdam has prohibited the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) in two cases from using data obtained through wiretaps, which ACM had been provided by the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM). In (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules on the compatibility of the antitrust procedure with the fundamental rights of the EU in elevators cartel case (Schindler)
Gibson Dunn (Brussels)
,
Gibson Dunn (Brussels)
,
Gibson Dunn (Brussels)
The Schindler Ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union: Potential Implications for Fundamental Rights and EU Competition Law* I. Background Defense counsel in European antitrust proceedings have long bemoaned the fact that “fundamental rights” did not effectively find their way (...)

The US Court of Appelas for the Sixth Circuit Sixth Circuit affirms class certification even for members whose product did not manifest the alleged defect (Whirlpool Litigation)
Cohen Milstein (Washington)
,
Cohen Milstein (New York)
Purchasers of Whirlpool washing machines brought a product liability class action against Whirlpool, alleging that a design defect in many of the machines resulted in mold and mildew in the machines and foul odors in their homes. A class was certified as to liability issues, with proof of (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses the appeal supported by pleas on the violation of fundamental rights in elevators cartel case (Schindler)
Mircea & Partners (Bucharest)
I. Background The Schindler Group is a leading supplier of elevators, escalators and related services. Schindler’s operations cover 140 countries worldwide and involve a large number of national subsidiaries, including Schindler Belgium, Schindler Luxembourg, Schindler Netherlands and Schindler (...)

A US Court of Appeals upholds a district court’s class certification of a class alleging federal antitrust claims (Glazer/Whirlpool)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated and remanded the Sixth Circuit’s decision in Whirlpool Corp. v. Glazer, 678 F.3d 409 (6th Cir. 2012), for further consideration in light of Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, 133 S. Ct. 1426 (2013) (Comcast). The Sixth Circuit has now issued a new ruling, (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Authority imposes fines against a construction company for refusal to cooperate during dawn raid (LitCon)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Summary of the decision The Competition Council of the Republic of Lithuania (the "Competition Council") imposed a fine of €180,000 on UAB "LitCon" for failure to provide and removal of potentially incriminating document during "dawn raids". The fine constituted 0,6 % of company’s annual (...)

The Estonian Parliament amends its competition act
European Commission (Brussels)
Estonia: Competition Act amended* On 15 July 2013, amendments to the Competition Act came into force. The main changes concern the administrative procedure. The first set of amendments concern the decisions adopted by the Competition Authority pursuant to Article 5 of Regulation 1/2003. The (...)

The UK Government opens a consultation with a view to creating a new competition and markets authority and replacing the existing competition authorities
University of Leicester
Competition policy as a cattle market* As part of a package of consultation documents relating to the new Competition and Markets Authority (CAM), BIS has published its view of the strategic priorities that should inform the work of the CMA, which it refers to as the "Strategic Steer" or (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority issues new leniency explanatory notes and application form (Engedékenységi Szabályok)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
New rules for leniency applicants* The GVH has published on its website the modified version of the Explanatory Notes and the Application Form for Leniency, which were both issued by the President of the Hungarian Competition Authority (hereinafter referred: Gazdasági Versenyhivatal - GVH). (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority publishes a revised version of its leniency explanatory notes and application form for leniency
European Commission (Brussels)
Hungary: New Rules for Leniency Applicants* On 11 July 2013, the GVH (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal - the Hungarian Competition Authority) published a revised version of its leniency explanatory notes and application form for leniency. Both documents, which were adopted by the President of the (...)

The French Competition Authority renders public its initial assessment of the medicinal distribution sector
European Commission (Brussels)
France: The Autorité de la Concurrence submits its Initial Assessment of the Medicinal Distribution Sector to Public Consultation* On 10 July 2013, the Autorité de la concurrence (the Autorité) made public its initial assessment of the competitive factors at play throughout the distribution (...)

The EFTA Court establishes that not issuing a timely decision in relation to an application for access to antitrust documents constitutes a serious breach of law (DB Schenker/ESA II)
Mircea & Partners (Bucharest)
Background The present case concerns a combined set of two actions lodged by DB Schenker against ESA on 9 July 2012: an action for failure to act under Article 37 SCA and an action for non-contractual liability based on Article 46 SCA. At the origin of the present litigation we can find the (...)

The French National Assembly adopts draft law on class actions
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 3 July 2013, the French National Assembly adopted at first reading a draft law in relation to consumer affairs. Among the proposals, the draft law seeks to introduce into the French legal system a class action procedure. The draft law seeks to introduce legislation aimed at (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Eastern District Court of California states that if putative class members prove Medline’s liability, damages may be calculated based on the wages each employee lost (Barbosa/Cargill Meat Solutions)
Cohen Milstein (Washington)
,
Cohen Milstein (New York)
Employees at a meat processing facility brought a class action claiming that required sanitary procedures deprived them of the benefit of the break time during which their employer required them to perform those procedures. Class certification was sought in connection with a proposed class (...)

The US Central District of California denies class certification on California law claims and grants class certification on New York law claims (Guido/L’Oreal)
Cohen Milstein (Washington)
,
Cohen Milstein (New York)
Purchasers of a hairstyling product (“Serum”) from L’Oreal brought a class action, asserting that the product was flammable, that its flammability was not adequately disclosed, and that class members would not have bought the product had they known that it was flammable. On that basis, they (...)

Regulatory

The French Competition Authority welcomes the fact that all electricity suppliers are now allowed to offer their customers social electricity tariffs
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Autorité de la concurrence welcomes the fact that all electricity suppliers are now allowed to offer their customers social electricity tariffs. It also recommends that the government initiate an (...)

The UK Ofgem issue proposals to open up the UK electricity market
Ofgem have issued proposals to open up the electricity market to effective competition, establishing a more level playing field so independent suppliers can compete effectively with the big six suppliers. The Big Six The ‘big six’ energy suppliers in Britain are generally taken to be Britain’s (...)

The Swedish City Court finds violation of the competition law by chartering buses where the client is a party other than the municipality (Skelleftebuss)
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
Prohibition against Skelleftebuss’ bus charters* The Stockholm City Court has sided with the Swedish Competition Authority and found Skelleftebuss AB guilty of violating the Competition Act by chartering buses where the client is a party other than the municipality. "We are very pleased that (...)

The UK OFGEM agrees a EUR 3.4 M package with energy operator after it was found to have breached its reporting obligations under the Government’s carbon emissions reduction target (CERT) programme (E.ON)
Ofgem has agreed a £3 million package with E.ON after it was found to have breached its reporting obligations under the Government’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) programme. The Breach and Ofgem’s Investigation Under the Government’s CERT programme, large energy suppliers are required (...)

All issues

  • Latest News issue 
  • All News issues
  • Latest Special issue 
  • All Special issues