July 2018

Anticompetitive practices

The Indian National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) upholds the Indian Competition Authority’s record fine imposed in the cement cartel case (Builders’ Association of India / Cement Manufacturers’ Association)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
NCLAT upholds the highest penalty imposed by CCI on cement cartel* The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) by way of a judgement dated 25 July 2018 has upheld the penalty imposed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on 11 cement companies for cartelization. The CCI in its (...)

The EU Commission fines four consumer electronics groups for restricting their online retailers’ ability to set their own retail prices for widely-used electronics products (Asus / Denon & Marantz / Philips / Pioneer)
White & Case (London)
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White & Case (Brussels)
The Commission Decisions In February 2017, the Commission initiated proceedings against Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer following information obtained during the e-commerce sector inquiry. The Commission’s report had identified resale price maintenance as an area of concern, and (...)

The EU Commission fines consumer electronics’ manufacturers a total of €111 million for resale price maintenance, granting substantial reductions in the fines through the cooperation procedure (Asus / Denon & Marantz / Philips / Pioneer)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release and statement issued on 24 July 2018, the European Commission has, in four separate decisions, fined consumer electronics manufacturers Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer a total of €111 million for engaging in resale price maintenance during periods (...)

The EU Commission fines four consumer electronics manufacturers for fixing online resale prices (Asus / Denon & Marantz / Philips / Pioneer)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines four consumer electronics manufacturers for fixing online resale prices* The European Commission today fined, in four separate decisions, consumer electronics manufacturers Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer for imposing fixed or minimum resale prices on (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Appeal Court confirms the decision of the Competition Authority concerning a cartel on the market of civilian filtering gas masks
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
Appeal Court supported FAS in a case against a 20-member cartel* The total fines imposed upon manufacturers and suppliers of civilian gas masks exceeded 75 million RUB The 9th Arbitration Appeal Court in Moscow reversed the ruling of the Court of First Instance and agreed with FAS arguments. (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal confirms the decision of the Competition Authority but reduces fines in the parcel delivery services cartel case (Traditional and express delivery service)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 19 July 2018, the Paris Court of Appeal (the “Court”) delivered a judgment in connection with the parcel delivery services cartel case (see VBB on Competition Law, Volume 2016, No. 1). The Court confirmed most of the findings of the French Competition Authority (“FCA”), including that the (...)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirms a grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants in an old case alleging an unlawful conspiracy in the single-copy magazine industry (Anderson News)
Dechert (Philadelphia)
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Dechert (Philadelphia)
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a grant of summary judgment on July 19, 2018, in favor of defendants in a nearly decade-old case alleging an unlawful conspiracy in the single-copy magazine industry. The decision clarifies the application of the Supreme Court’s (...)

The Russian Competition Authority exposes the first cartel in Dagestan in the medicine sector (Medpharmasnab / RegionPharma / Dagmedtechnika / Globalmedtech)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS exposed the first cartel in Dagestan* A group of FAS specialists arrived to Dagestan on invitation of Acting Head of Dagestan, Vladimir Vasiliev To pursue the National Competition Development Plan approved by No. 618 Order of the President of Russia on 21.12.2017, FAS jointly with (...)

The French Competition Authority rejects the request for interim measures filed by a law firm relating to practices implemented by the Toulouse Bar Association (AGN Avocats)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Law firms* The Autorité de la concurrence rejects the request for interim measures filed by the company AGN Avocats relating to practices implemented by the Toulouse Bar Association, but pursues the investigation into the merits of the case. The company AGN Avocats Développement, hereinafter (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses cartel allegations against 37 suppliers of signaling cables to national railways (North Western Railway / Rajasthan Transformers and Switchgears)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI closes allegation of cartel against 37 suppliers of signaling cables to Indian Railways* The Competition Commission of India (CCI/Commission ) by way of an order dated 12 July 2018 rejected the findings of the Director General (DG) and closed the case against 37 signaling cable (...)

The German Competition Authority fines several steel companies for price-fixing and exchanging information (ArcelorMittal Commercial Long, Cologne, Dörrenberg Edelstahl, Engelskirchen, Kind & Co. Edelstahlwerke, Wiehl, Saarstahl, Völklingen, Schmidt + Clemens, Lindlar and Zapp Precision Metals, Schwerte)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt imposes first fines totalling approx. 205 million euros on special steel companies* The Bundeskartellamt has imposed fines totalling approx. 205 million euros on six special steel companies, a trade association and ten individuals for concluding price-fixing agreements and (...)

The EU General Court dismisses appeals against a decision of the Commission brought by producers of underground and submarine high voltage power cables (Power Cables cartel)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Cartel, judicial review, evidence, conterfactuel, parent On 12 July 2018, the General Court (“GC”) delivered fourteen judgments dismissing all of the appeals brought by the companies involved in the Power Cables cartel case. By way of background, in 2014, the European Commission adopted a (...)

The EU General Court hands down a judgment confirming a growing trend towards a broad application of parental liability (Goldman Sachs)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
Infringement On 12 July 2018, the General Court (the GC) upheld an infringement decision of the European Commission (the Commission) made on 02 April 2014, in which the Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS) was found jointly and severally liable with its indirect subsidiary Prysmian for violating (...)

The Indian Competition Authority fines state chemists’ association and 3 pharma companies for anticompetitive practice of "No Objection Certificates" prior to appointment of stockists (Alis Medical Agency / Federation of Gujarat State Chemists & Druggists Associations)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI imposes penalties on the Chemists’ Associations in State of Gujarat and three pharma companies for indulging in practice of “No Objection Certificate” before appointment of stockists* The Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) by way of an order dated 12 July 2018 has imposed penalty on the (...)

The Indian Competition Authority decides its fourth leniency and fines broadcasting service providers for bid-rigging in tenders floated by sports broadcasters (Essel Shyam Communication / Globecast India / Globecast Asia)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI decides its fourth leniency, imposes penalty on broadcasting service providers for bid-rigging in tenders floated by Sports Broadcasters* By way of an order dated 11 July 2018, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposed a penalty of INR 22.36 Crore on Essel Shyam Communication (...)

The EU Commission invites stakeholders to comment on draft guidelines to help national courts estimate the economic harm caused by cartels
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission consults stakeholders on draft guidelines to help national courts estimate the economic harm caused by cartels* The European Commission is inviting comments on draft guidelines to help national courts estimate the share of price increases caused by a cartel that are (...)

The Danish Competition Authority adopts new guidelines on joint bidding under competition law
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
New guidelines on joint bidding under competition law* The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority published new guidelines on how to assess joint bidding under competition law on 25 April 2018. These guidelines are now available in English. The guidelines address the assessments (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority carries out unannounced inspection in the immunoglobulin sector
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Belgian Competition Authority confirms the inspection in the immunoglobulin sector* The Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) confirms the inspection conducted in Belgium, at the request of the Romanian Competition Council, at the premises of (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority opens an investigation in the immunoglobulin market
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
Competition Council opens investigation in the immunoglobulin market* • Simultaneous inspections in Romania, Belgium and Italy The Competition Council has opened an investigation regarding an alleged agreement amongst the following producers of normal human immunoglobulins, owning marketing (...)

Unilateral Practices

The French Competition Authority renders legally binding a set of remedies of a media company leaving its subscribers free to choose their TV decoder to watch its programmes (Canal Plus)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Satellite Pay TV* The Autorité de la concurrence makes the commitments of Groupe Canal Plus binding, leaving its subscribers free to choose their TV decoder to watch its programmes. The complaint A satellite decoder manufacturer lodged a complaint with the Autorité de la concurrence relating (...)

The EU Commission fines a multinational technology company for abuse of dominance by imposing illegal restrictions on device manufacturers and mobile network operators (Google Android)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Google €4.34 billion for illegal practices regarding Android mobile devices to strengthen dominance of Google’s search engine* The European Commission has fined Google €4.34 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules. Since 2011, Google has imposed illegal restrictions (...)

The EU Commission fines a technology company for abuse of dominance through its smartphone operating system and platform (Google Android)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 July 2018, the European Commission adopted a decision fining Google €4.34 billion for abusing its dominant position by allegedly engaging in various illegal practices regarding the Android mobile platform. According to its press release, the Commission found that Google holds a dominant (...)

The EU Commission fines a multinational technology company for abuse of dominant position in the smartphone operating system sector (Google Android)
Baker McKenzie (London)
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Baker McKenzie (Brussels)
On 18 July 2018 the European Commission imposed a record fine of €4.34 billion on Google. In such an innovative and competitive industry, a decision and fine on this scale arguably sends the wrong message. This update questions whether intervention risks reducing innovation, raising prices and (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority fines a pharmaceutical company for abuse of dominance in the market of migraine medicines (Glaxosmithline)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
Decision concerning GLAXOSMITHKLINE SA and GLAXOSMITHKLINE plc’s supply policy of medicinal products LAMICTAL, IMIGRAN and SEREVENT in the Greek market, following the partial referral of the case back to the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) by the Athens Administrative Court of Appeals and (...)

The Greek Competition Authority fines a pharmaceutical company for reducing supplies of medicines to wholesalers (GSK)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 11 July 2018, the Hellenic Competition Commission (“HCC”) adopted a decision (the “Decision”) fining Glaxosmithkline (“GSK”) a total of €4.1 million for abusing its dominant position in relation to two pharmaceutical products: Imigran (an anti-migraine product) and Lamictal (an anticonvulsant). (...)

The Indian Competition Authority fines joint venture for denying access to essential facility in the market for upstream terminalling services (East India Petroleum / South Asia LPG)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI imposes penalty on South Asia LPG Company Ltd for abuse of dominant position- a classic case of denial of essential facility* The Competition Commission of India (CCI) by an order dated 11 July 2018, has imposed penalty of INR 19.2 Crore on South Asia LPG Company Ltd (‘SALPG’), a joint (...)

The Portuguese Competition Auhtority renders legally binding a set of remedies that expand the scope of postal network access offer of a postal operator to competing operators (CTT)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC’s intervention expands the scope of CTT postal network access offer to competing operators and broadens consumer choice* The Portuguese Competition Authority (AdC) adopted a decision which renders legally binding a set of commitments that expand the scope of CTT’s Postal Network Access Offer (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the fresh produce distribution market (Total Produce / Dole)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves Total Produce’s acquisition of Dole, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition by Total Produce of joint control over Dole. Both companies supply bagged salads, bananas and other fresh fruit and (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a retailer and distributor of electronic products for failing to comply with its merger remedies (Fnac / Darty)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Fnac’s acquisition of Darty* The Autorité de la concurrence fines Fnac Darty Group €20 million for failing to divest itself of three stores, which was the pre-condition for clearance of the transaction. The Autorité also orders Fnac Darty to divest itself of two stores in lieu of those that it (...)

EU Court of Justice Advocate General Kokott issues an opinion supporting the rights of defence of merging parties (UPS / TNT Express)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 25 July 2018, Advocate General (“AG”) Kokott issued an Opinion in which she concludes that the General Court (“GC”) was correct to annul the Commission’s 2013 decision to prohibit UPS’s acquisition of its package delivery rival, TNT Express. In the decision, the Commission relied upon a “price (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation to assess a merger in the market of the supply of rolled copper products and sanitary copper tubes (MKM /KME)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into KME’s proposed acquisition of competing copper products supplier MKM* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of MKM by KME, under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is concerned (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation to assess a merger in the hardware security modules market (Gemalto / Thales)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Gemalto by Thales* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Gemalto by Thales under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is concerned that the merger (...)

The French Ministry of Economy clears “Phase III” review and imposes commitment to maintain employment (Cofigeo / Agripole)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 19 July 2018, the French Ministry of Economy (“Ministry”) announced a revised clearance of Cofigeo’s acquisition of the ready meals business of Agripole. This is the first time in the history of French merger control that the Ministry has reviewed a transaction on public interest grounds under (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation to assess a proposed merger in the rail sector (Siemens / Alstom)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into Siemens proposed acquisition of Alstom* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Alstom by Siemens, under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is concerned that the merger may (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger, subject to remedies, in the titanium dioxide pigment market (Tronox / Cristal)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves Tronox’s acquisition of Cristal, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Cristal by Tronox, both major suppliers of titanium dioxide pigment. The approval is conditional on full compliance with (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission approves most of a French aid granted to electricity-intensive companies but asks France to recover part of the aid
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves most of the electricity contribution reductions granted to electricity-intensive companies in France in 2003-15 and asks France to recover part of the reductions* The European Commission has approved most of the electricity contribution reductions granted to (...)

The EU Commission approves French aid granted to a tidal energy demonstration plant (Raz Blanchard)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
State aid: Commission approves French support for tidal energy demonstration plant Raz Blanchard* The European Commission has found a French project promoting electricity generation from tidal energy to be in line with EU State aid rules. The measure will contribute further the EU’s energy and (...)

The EU Commission estimates public funding for five ferry connections between Croatian islands and mainland is in line with EU State aid rules
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves public funding for five ferry connections between Croatian islands and mainland* The European Commission has found Croatian plans to grant HRK 250 million (€34 million) to ensure regular ferry connections on five routes between Croatian islands and the mainland to (...)

The EU Commission imposes to Spain to recover around €167 million corresponding to illegal tax benefits granted to a postal operator (Correos)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Spain needs to recover around €167 million of incompatible aid from postal operator Correos* The European Commission has found that Correos, the publicly-owned Spanish postal operator, was overcompensated for the delivery of its universal postal service obligation between 2004 and (...)

The EU Commission finds reductions of nuclear levy for electro-intensive users in Slovakia are in line with EU State aid rules
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves reductions of nuclear levy for electro-intensive users in Slovakia* The European Commission has found Slovakia’s plan to grant reductions on a nuclear levy to certain electro-intensive users to be in line with EU State aid rules. The measure will contribute to the (...)

Procedures

The EU Court of Justice clarifies territorial jurisdiction criteria for damages proceedings resulting from competition infringements (FlyLAL)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 5 July 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) rendered a preliminary ruling on territorial jurisdiction in a long-running dispute brought by Lithuanian Airlines (“flyLAL”) against Air Baltic and Riga Airport. The case was referred to the ECJ by a Lithuanian court in order to (...)

Regulatory

The French Competition Authority makes new recommendations to encourage the establishment of new notary offices
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Freedom of establishment for notaries: proposed map for 2018-2020* The process of gradually opening up the notarial profession is producing encouraging results and must continue. Pursuant to the “Macron Law”, the Autorité is making new recommendations to encourage the gradual establishment of (...)

The UK Payment Systems Regulator announces a market review into the supply of card-acquiring services
Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (London)
The UK Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) announced on 24 July 2018 its intention to carry out a market review into the supply of card-acquiring services. The PSR has released its draft Terms of Reference (“ToR”) and is seeking feedback on consultation questions. Card payments are now more common (...)

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