June 2003

Anticompetitive practices

The Japan Fair Trade Commission issues its decision against two compagnies concerning bif rigging for the sorting machines (Toshiba Corporation and NEC Corporation)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
Decision to Toshiba Corporation and NEC Corporation* The JFTC decided to initiate hearing procedures against Toshiba Corporation (Minato-ku, Tokyo) and NEC Corporation (Minato-ku, Tokyo) on 4 December 1998 and has been having examiners conduct the procedures. The JFTC issued a resulting (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission issues its recommendations against participants in bidding for construction works (Housing and Urbanizing Bureau, City of Nagoya)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
JFTC renders recommendation to bidders for construction works by City of Nagoya* The JFTC, after conducting an investigation into bidders for construction works ordered by City of Nagoya, today issued a recommendation to 106 companies against violation of Section 3 (unreasonable restraint of (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority objects to RPM and exclusive purchasing in petrol station franchising agreements (MOL)
Oppenheim
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Oppenheim - Budapest
Description of the impugned case The agreements at stake were part of a franchising network by MOL (the largest oil and gas company in Hungary) relating to operators of petrol stations and contained straightforward RPM clauses. The agreements also contained exclusive purchasing obligations. (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission issues its recommendations against participants in bidding for construction material price survey activities (Economic Research Association and Construction Research Institute)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
JFTC Recommendation for participants in tenders for construction material price survey activities ordered by government offices under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport’s Kanto Regional Development Bureau* The Japan Fair Trade Commission has completed an (...)

The Italian Competition Authority holds that vertical exchange of information between cigarettes manufacturer and its retailers does not infringe competition law but can indirectly affects horizontal competition (Philip Morris)
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
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Telefonica (Madrid)
In 2004, two cases on exchanges of information between competitors were decided by the Italian competition authority (“AGCM” – the Autorità Garante per la Concorrenza ed il Mercato). This revived a lively debate on the conditions in which these practices should be prohibited and whether they are (...)

Unilateral Practices

The UK Competition Appeals Tribunal upholds the decision of the DGFT that the appellant has abused a dominant position by pricing advertising in one of its newspapers at below average variable cost, but reduces the fine since the abusive conduct had only continued for one month (Aberdeen Journals)
Kings Chambers (Leeds)
This case involved two decisions by the Director General of Fair Trading (the « DGFT »), under the Competition Act 1998 (the « Act ») each of which was appealed to the Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT). In both decisions the DGFT found that, in the period 1 March to 29 March 2000, Aberdeen (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority held that refusing to enter into negotiations with one of the major competitors on the motorway construction market did not infringe competition law (Nemzeti Autópálya)
Hogan Lovells
1. Summary The procedure of HCA was initiated by Decree n° 2. KpK. 45913/2001/3-I of the Capital Court (“Fõvárosi Bíróság”), having two times previously refused to investigate the complaint. The complainant (whose name is confidential, but is one of the major motorway construction undertakings in (...)

Mergers

The Danish Competition Council conditionally approves the creation of a three-partner joint venture in the markets for classified online advertising for cars, real property and travel (Zonerne - Metropol Online / Det Faelles Udgiverselskab/TV2)
Kromann Reumert (Copenhagen)
The operation The first transaction concerned the creation of the new joint venture, Zonerne A/S ("Zonerne") by three media companies: Metropol Online A/S, Det Faelles Udgiverselskab A/S and TV2 Danmark. Metropol Online was an internet-based company that operated in the markets for classified (...)

The Italian Competition Authority revokes remedies originally imposed to the parties to a merger by interpretating extensively the notion of de facto control (Società Assicuratrice Industriale/La Fondiaria Assicurazioni)
Ashurst
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Legance - Studio Legale Associato
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Background Following a specific request by the parties, the Italian Antitrust Authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato), at its meeting on 12 June 2003, decided to revoke the conditions originally imposed on Premafin Finanziaria S.p.A. (Premafin) and Mediobanca Banca di (...)

The Czech Competition Office clears in a landmark decision in phase II a merger in the pharmaceutical sector subject to several structural and behavioural remedies, including transfer and divestment of trademarks and termination of a license agreement (Zentiva/S. L. Pharma)
Clifford Chance
The operation On the basis of share transfer agreement concluded on 20 January 2003, ZENTIVA B.V. ("Zentiva") acquired 100 % of shares in S.L. PHARMA HOLDING GESELLSCHAFT M.B.H. ("SLP") and therefore gained a sole control over the company. Zentiva operates in Czech Republic mainly through (...)

The Estonian Competition Authority clears a merger in the markets of sod and milled fuel peat for peat briquettes subject to enter into a long-term supply agreement with the target’s customer (Tootsi Turvas/Puhatu Turvas)
General Electric (Brussels)
The operation By a decision dated 12 June 2003, the ECA authorised in phase I the acquisition by the Estonian company Tootsi Turvas (an indirect subsidiary of Finnish State - owned Vapo Group) of Estonian company Puhatu Turvas (para. 1). The market(s) The relevant markets were defined by the (...)

The EU Commission approves after an in-depth investigation the creation of a joint venture between two German chemical producers (Celanese / Degussa)
European Commission - DG COMP
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European Commission - DG COMP
"Merger control: main developments between 1st May and 31st August 2003"* On 11 June the Commission approved the proposed creation of a Joint Venture between the German chemical producers Celanese and Degussa. The parties will contribute most of their oxo chemicals businesses to the Joint (...)

The European Commission conditionally approves a linkup between an Austrian power company and five regional power suppliers (Österreichische Elektrizitätswirtschafts/EnergieAllianz)
European Commission - DG COMP
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European Commission - DG COMP
"Merger control: main developments between 1st May and 31st August 2003"* On 11 June the Commission also approved a linkup between the Austrian power company Österreichische Elektrizitätswirtschafts-AG (Verbund) and five Austrian regional power suppliers grouped together as EnergieAllianz, (...)

The US DOJ demands conduct remedies in the form of establishing firewalls and publishing non-discriminatory criteria before clearing the vertical merger between a satellite producer and a payload supplier (Northrop Grumman/TRW)
WilmerHale (Washington)
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WilmerHale (Washington)
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Stanford University
On December 11, 2002, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a proposed consent decree, permitting Northrop Grumman to proceed with its $7.8 billion acquisition of TRW. Northrop Grumman/TRW shows that the DOJ and the Department of Defense (DOD), which plays a leading role in reviewing (...)

The European Commission refers part of a proposed merger between dairy products companies to the UK competition authorities and clears the operation for the remaining product and geographical markets (Express Dairies/Aria Foods)
European Commission - DG COMP
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European Commission - DG COMP
"Merger control: main developments between 1st May and 31st August 2003"* The European Commission decided, 10 June 2003, to refer part of the proposed merger between Danish-based dairy products company Arla Foods and Britain’s Express Dairies to the UK competition authorities, which then (...)

State Aid

The European Commission authorizes State aid notified by the Dutch authorities concerning a legal framework for an emission trading scheme for an atmospheric pollutant (NOx)
European Commission - DG COMP
"Emission trading – why State aid is involved: NOx trading scheme"* In January 2003 the Dutch authorities notified the Commission of a legal framework for an emission trading scheme for the atmospheric pollutant NOx. The measure was authorised under State aid notification rules by the (...)

The French Administrative Supreme Court rejected the direct effect of Art. 88.3 EC in the case of future contracts (EDF/SNE)
Université Aix-Marseille
French Administrative Supreme Court (Conseil d’État), 11 June 2003, Electricité de France (“EDF”) - Société Nationale d’Electricité et de Thermique (“SNET”), Cases n° 240512 and 240520, Lebon Tables, pp. 702-703, 780, 794 Facts and proceedings Electricité de France (EDF) and the Société nationale (...)

Procedures

The Swiss Parliament adopts an in-depth revision of the Competition Act aiming to update and further adapt national competition legislation to EU competition law (Revised Federal Act on cartels and other restraints of competition)
Lenz & Staehelin (Geneva)
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Riesen Law
I. Introduction The aim of this paper is to provide background information about Swiss competition law to which readers will be able to refer in the context of the e-Competitions project. As a reminder, Switzerland is neither a member of the European Union (EU) nor a member of the European (...)

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