June 2002

Anticompetitive practices

The French Competition Authority fines distributors and manufacturers for implementing anticompetitive agreements in the electrical appliances and audiovisual equipment market (Thomson and Akaï)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Electrical appliances and audiovisual equipment : the Conseil de la concurrence penalises an agreement between the main distributors and certain manufacturers* In a decision dated 28th June 2002, the Conseil (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority simplifies the notification of cartels in the construction industry
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Simplifies the Notification of Cartels in the Construction Industry* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has made it easier for tendering services to give notification of irregularities which they observe in relation to tenders. For this purpose, NMa has developed a notification (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority imposes fines on petrol supplier and three filling stations for discount coordination (Tango)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa Fines Texaco and Three Texaco Filling Stations for Obstructing Tango in the Nijmegen Region* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has fined Texaco and three Texaco filling stations for a coordinated discount campaign in the Nijmegen region. The NMa has imposed a fine of EUR 1 (...)

The European Commission renews block exemption regulation for passenger tariffs conferences for the purpose of interlining in Regulation EC No 617/93
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Aviation: Renewal of block exemption Regulation 1617/93"* On 25 June 2002 the Commission adopted Regulation (EC) No 1105/2002, renewing the block exemption for passenger tariffs conferences for the purpose of interlining in Regulation EC No 617/93 until 30 June 2005. The renewal is (...)

The German Competition Authority serves written charges on seven companies and high-ranking persons in the paper wholesale sector on suspicion of their involvement in illegal price agreements
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Leniency Programme helps for the first time to counter price cartels in paper wholesale sector* The Bundeskartellamt has served written charges on seven companies and high-ranking persons in the paper wholesale sector on suspicion of their involvement in illegal price agreements. Those (...)

The French Competition Authority fines several opticians for implementing an anticompetitive agreement in the spectacle frames sector (Optical Center)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
35 opticians from the Lyons region found guilty of trying to eliminate a cheaper competitor* Following a referral by the Minister of Economy, in a decision dated 14th June 2002, the Conseil de la concurrence penalised an anticompetitive agreement between 35 opticians based in Lyons. These (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes fines on seven companies in the ready-mixed concrete sector based in Lower Bavaria for agreeing to buy the entire production of a competitor at a guaranteed price
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Further fine imposed on companies in the ready-mixed concrete sector* The Bundeskartellamt has imposed fines totalling approx. 1.8 million EURO on seven companies in the ready-mixed concrete sector based in Lower Bavaria for concluding anti-competitive agreements. The companies involved agreed (...)

The European Commission fines eight Austrian banks for participating in a cartel (’Lombard Club’ cartel)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Commission fines eight Austrian banks for participating in the ‘Lombard Club’ cartel"* Introduction On 11 June 2002 the Commission concluded its first full-blown cartel inquiry into the banking sector by imposing fines totalling € 124,26 million on eight Austrian banks for their participation (...)

The US Northern District Court of Texas holds that the supplier’s policy of linking the wholesale price to the distributor’s retail price does not amount to illegal resale price maintenance as long as the distributor is free to set its retail price (Lubbock Beverage / Miller Brewing)
United First Partners
Introduction The Lubbock Beverage Co. v. Miller Brewing Co.case involves allegations by a distributor that the supplier’s practice of linking the wholesale price to the distributor’s retail price amounted to illegal resale price maintenance (“RPM”) and vertical price fixing. The federal district (...)

Unilateral Practices

The French Competition Authority asks the Minister of Economy to conduct a review after establishing that two companies have abused their dominant position in the markets for water and purification (Compagnie générale des eaux and Lyonnaise des eaux)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Water market : the Conseil de la concurrence asks the Minister to raise questions over the joint subsidiaries of CGE and SLDE* In a decision dated 11th July 2002, the Conseil de la concurrence, which had (...)

The Estonian Competition Board brings proceedings to an end against the Tallinn port and established discriminatory pricing for access to an essential facility (Termoil)
EFTA Surveillance Authority
1. Background information AS Turmoil (Termoil) is a company operating oil terminals in the Port of Muuga in Tallinn, Estonia. Port of Muuga is owned by a state owned company AS Tallinna Sadam (Port of Tallinn, PoT). PoT is the biggest cargo and passenger port complex with five harbours, (...)

The Hungarian Competition Office terminates proceedings in the motorway construction market regarding refusal to conclude a contract (Nemzeti Autópálya Rt.)
lakatos, koves and partners
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lakatos, koves and partners
In 2002 the Hungarian Competition Office (HCO) launched an investigation against National Motorway Ltd. (NA) in order to determine whether NA was in a dominant position in the motorway construction market, and if yes, whether it abused its dominant position when in 2000, it failed to respond to (...)

The European Commission closes probe into computers manufacturer’s licensing terms for speech recognition engines (IBM)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Commission closes probe into IBM’s licensing terms for speech recognition engines"* In June 2002, the European Commission decided to close an investigation triggered by a complaint from UK voice recognition software company, AllVoice Computing plc, against IBM Corp., after the latter agreed to (...)

Mergers

The Slovak Antimonopoly Office clears a major in the insurance sector subject to 21 structural and behavioural remedies (Allianz/Slovenská poistovna)
Čechová & Partners
The operation By a decision dated 28 06 2002, the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic approved the acquisition of direct control of the company Allianz AG over the former state-owned insurance company Slovenská poistovna as a result of the privatization of Slovenská poistovna. Allianz AG (...)

The EU Commission grants retroactive clearance to the acquisition of a Dutch sand-lime joint venture CVK by a German and Dutch companies after they undertook to terminate their joint venture agreement (Haniel / Cementbouw / JV)
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 retroactive clearance to the 1999 acquisition of the Dutch sand-lime joint venture CVK by the Haniel group of Germany and Dutch firm Cementbouw after the companies undertook to (...)

The German Competition Authority clears an acquisition on the markets for industrial, household and liquid sugar (Union-Zucker Südhannover / Nordzucker)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt clears Nordzucker / Union-Zucker merger project* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared the acquisition of Union-Zucker Südhannover GmbH, Nordstemmen, by Nordzucker AG, Brunswick. The merger project affects the markets for industrial, household and liquid sugar in northern Germany. (...)

The European Commission approves, subject to conditions, the proposed take-over bid by Italian food company for German bakeries group (Barilla/BPL/Kamps)
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 approved, subject to conditions, the proposed take-over bid by Barilla Group of Italy for German bakeries group Kamps AG. The Commission feared that the deal might reinforce Barilla‘s leading (...)

The French Minister clears a merger in the sector of energy with remedies including divestiture (CGST-Save/Domoservices)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The operation The Minister clears the acquisition between CGST and Domoservices in phase 1. The market(s) The market has been defined as the market for supply of technical services for gas equipments to individual customers. Remedy 1: Vertical concerns The Minister believed that the (...)

The German Competition Authority clears merger in the financial sector under the condition that there are no concerns regarding a potential violation of cartel law (Eurohypo)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Foundation of Eurohypo AG under further examination after clearance* The Bundeskartellamt has concluded its examination under merger control of the foundation of Eurohypo AG, Frankfurt, by a merger of the three mortgage banking subsidiaries of the commercial banks Deutsche Bank AG, Frankfurt, (...)

The German Competition Authority conditionally clears a merger in the waste disposal sector (Remondis Assets & Services / Awista)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Trienekens/AWISTA (Düsseldorf city cleaning) cleared subject to conditions* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared the acquisition of 49 per cent of the shares in AWISTA Gesellschaft für Abfallwirtschaft und Stadtreinigung mbH (AWISTA), Düsseldorf, by Trienekens AG, Viersen, (Trienekens) subject to (...)

The French Minister of Economics cleared a merger in the manufacture of protection equipments of individuals with remedies including selling on a non-discriminatory basis and granting of a manufacture licence (Mine Safety Appliances - MSA/CGF Gallet)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The operation In this case, the Minister cleared the acquisition of CGF-Gallet by MSA-Gallet with remedies. Both companies are manufacturer and provider of protection equipments of individuals including respiratory protection equipments, helmets and accessories. The market(s) The relevant (...)

The Hungarian Competition Office approves an acquisition in the pharmacy market with remedies including non-discrimination obligations and reporting commitments (Hungaropharma / Richter Gedeon)
lakatos, koves and partners
The operation The HCO authorized the acquisition of Hungaropharma by the consortium of Richter, Egis, Béres and Magyar Gyógyszer. Hungaropharma is owned by the Hungarian State. A sale and purchase agreement ("Agreement") was concluded by and between APV Rt and the Consortium. According to the (...)

The Hungarian Competition Office clears a merger in the pharmacies wholesale market sector with remedies including non-discrimination and reporting obligations (Hungaropharma)
lakatos, koves and partners
The operation The HCO authorized the acquisition of Hungaropharma by the consortium of Richter, Egis, Béres and Magyar Gyógyszer. Hungaropharma is owned by the Hungarian State. A sale and purchase agreement ("Agreement") was concluded by and between APV Rt and the Consortium. According to the (...)

The EU Court of First Instance annuls the Commission’s decision to prohibit a merger between two UK based holiday tour operators (Airtours / First Choice)
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"* On 6 June 2002 the European Court of First Instance (CFI) annulled the Commission’s decision to prohibit a merger between Airtours and First Choice, two UK based holiday tour operators. Though the Commission had (...)

The EU Court of First Instance overturns the EU Commission decision’s to block a merger between two UK tour operators addressing the issue of collective dominance (Airtours / First Choice)
White & Case (Brussels)
In a critical decision, the European Court of First Instance (“CFI”) reversed the decision of the EC Commission, which had blocked AirTours’ acquisition of First Choice, a rival UK tour operator, under Article 2(3) of the EC Merger Control Regulation on the basis that it would have created a (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority cleared a merger in the corn starch and glucose syrups markets subject to remedies, including termination or revision of the obligation preventing the acquisition of shares of a competing company for investment purpose (Montedison-Cargill)
The operation Cargill is a company which is active in food, agricultural products, beverage and financial sectors as well as in the trade of commodities. Cargill has two Turkish subsidiaries, one of which is active in the relevant product market, namely Cargill Tarým Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Þ. (...)

State Aid

The Council of the EU approves the Commission’s strategy against unfair Korean practices in the shipbuilding sector
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG CLIMA
"The Council approves the commission’s twin-track strategy against unfair Korean practices in the shipbuilding sector"* In line with the 1998 Shipbuilding Regulation, decades of operating aid to Community shipyards came to an end in December 2000. The Community’s attempts to increase efficiency (...)

The European Court of Justice upholds the Commission’s decision concerning State aid implemented by the Netherlands for Dutch service stations located near the German border and clarifies the interpretation of the de minimis rule
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Clarification on the interpretation of the de minimis rule in State aid — the European Court of Justice upholds the Commission’s Dutch service station decision"* Introduction On 13 June 2002, the European Court of Justice (‘the Court’ or ‘the ECJ’) upheld (‘the Judgment’) the Commission’s (...)

The European Commission takes a decision on a case concerning two Italian State aid schemes applicable to the sector of public utilities (Tax exemption and privileged loans in favor of utilities with majority public shareholding)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"An example of the application of State aid rules in the utilities sector in Italy"* Last June the Commission took a decision on a case concerning two Italian State aid schemes applicable to the sector of public utilities. This article focuses on the most interesting aspects of that decision (...)

Procedures

The Netherlands Competition Authority draws up three reports following refusal to cooperate in certain parts of an antitrust investigation (Heijmans)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
NMa: Report on Heijmans Due to Refusal to Co-operate* The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has drawn up three reports following Heijmans Beton- en Waterbouw’s refusal to cooperate, following NMa’s request to interview certain employees. Other construction companies have also refused to (...)

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