June 2008

Anticompetitive practices

The EU Commission introduces settlement procedure for cartel cases
Linklaters (Paris)
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Linklaters (London)
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Linklaters (London)
On 30 June 2008, the European Commission introduced a new settlement procedure for cartel cases. Under the new procedure, the parties in a cartel investigation may acknowledge their breach of European antitrust law and waive certain procedural rights in exchange for a 10% reduction of the fine. (...)

The Paris Commercial Court finds a leading brokerage platform for remote electronic bidding liable for the infringement of selective distribution networks and unlawful acts committed against perfumers on its sites (eBay)
Vogel & Vogel
Four perfumers sue eBay, the world’s foremost brokerage platform for remote electronic bidding, for having permitted, in violation of their rights, the sale of products marketed through unauthorized channels and counterfeit sales on its sites. eBay disputed the competence of the French courts (...)

The Paris Commercial Court condemns a leading auction website to pay damages to perfume makers for a violation of their selective distribution networks (eBay)
Altana Law (Paris)
On 30 June 2008, the Commercial Court of Paris (Tribunal de Commerce de Paris) rendered three important decisions condemning the international auction website eBay mainly for its participation to an infringement of the IP rights of six manufacturers of luxury products belonging to the Louis (...)

The Czech Regional Court in Brno cancels the decision of the President of the Office for the Protection of Competition concerning a well-known, long-running international cartel operating within the sector of gas insulated switchgears on the grounds of breaching the legal principle of ne bis in idem (GIS Cartel)
Weinhold Legal
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CMS Cameron McKenna (Prague)
I. Introduction On 26 June 2008, the Regional Court in Brno cancelled the decision of the President of the Czech Office for the Protection of Competition (the „Office«) concerning a well-known, long-running international cartel operating within the sector of gas insulated switchgears («GIS»). (...)

The Turkish Competition Board rules that the block exemption on vertical agreements is applicable to a vertical agreement containing hard-core restraints (Sinan Erdoðan / Lido Su and Gýda San. Tic.)
Derman Düren Akol
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European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Sinan Erdoðan (the “Distributor”) applied on 23 May 2008 to the Turkish Competition Board (the “Board”) alleging that the distribution agreement (the “Distribution Agreement”) entered into with Lido Su and Gýda San. Tic. A.Þ. (“Lido Su”) in October 2006 regarding the resale of spring water in (...)

An Italian administrative Court cancels the NCA’s decision fining € 11.3 M a market-sharing agreement in water services (Acea / Suez / Publiacqua)
Luigi Prosperetti & Partners
Background In November 2007, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) fined Acea for 8.3 million, and Suez Environment (SE) for 3 million for a market-sharing agreement in water services . The Italian NCA had consistently maintained that joint-ventures among competitors in bidding for public (...)

A Czech Court scraps fine for gas-insulated switchgear cartel
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 25 June 2008, the Regional Court in Brno annulled the decision of the Czech Competition Authority imposing fines on members of a gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) cartel. On 9 February 2007, the Czech Competition Authority imposed a fine amounting to CZK 979.221 million (approximately € 35 (...)

The European Commission fines aluminum fluoride producers for operating a cartel in which they agreed on a worldwide target price increase (Boliden Odda, Fluorsid, Minmet Financing Company, Societe des Industries Chimiques du Fluor, Industrial Quimica de Mexico)
European Commission - DG COMP
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European Commission - DG COMP
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European Commission - DG TRADE
"Recent cartel cases - Sodium Chlorate and Aluminium Fluoride"* In June 2008, the Commission adopted two prohibition decisions against infringements of Article 81 of the EC Treaty and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement and imposed fines totalling some €84 million. In both cases, the product (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal reduces fines for a market-sharing agreement in the construction sector (France Travaux)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 24 June 2008, the Paris Court of Appeal reduced and annulled some of the fines previously imposed by the French Competition Council on a number of building and civil engineering companies for having entered into a market-sharing agreement relating to public markets in the Île-de-France (...)

A French Court of appeal rejects a request to forbid Internet resellers to sell a supplier’s products considering that the legality of its exclusive distribution network is not established (Brandalley, Over Stock / Puma)
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Paris)
French courts are more and more solicited by suppliers claiming that online resellers or platforms violate their selective and/or exclusive distribution networks. We all remember the decisions recently rendered by the Paris commercial court in favour of LVMH against ebay . In a similar case, (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission imposes surcharges on manufacturers and sellers of Polypropylene for having implemented a price-fixing agreement (Idemitsu Kosan, Sumitomo Chemical and SunAllomer)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
Surcharge Payment Orders to Polypropylene Manufacturers and Sellers* The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC)ordered the four polypropylene manufacturers and sellers, on June 20,2008, to pay the surcharge as follows in accordance with the transitional measure under the revised Antimonopoly Act (...)

The Turkish Competition Board grants individual exemption to an exclusive distribution agreement (GlaxoSmithKline / Pfizer)
University of Leeds
In an interesting decision on 20 June 2008, the Turkish Competition Board (TCB) has granted an individual exemption to an exclusive distribution agreement between GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Co. and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Ltd after refusing to grant negative clearance to the agreement under (...)

The Lisbon Court of Appeal upholds the Lisbon Commercial Court’s decision that had confirmed a decision of the Portuguese Competition Authority relating a proceeding pursuant to Competition Law for the setting of minimum fees for dental services (Portuguese Dental Association)
Ana Oliveira Bruno e Associados - Sociedade de Advogados (Lisbon)
1) The Administrative Proceedings - Autoridade da Concorrência (Portuguese Competition Authority) On June 30, 2005 the Autoridade da Concorrência (Portuguese Competition Authority - PCA) imposed a fine to the Ordem dos Médicos Dentistas (Portuguese Dental Association) of €160,181.00 for setting (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority closes its investigation into exchange of confidential information in the daily consumer goods retail trade market (RuokaKesko, Suomen Osuuskauppojen Keskuskunta, Tradeka)
Roschier (Helsinki)
The Finnish Competition Authority (hereinafter the “FCA”) has closed its investigation into exchange of confidential information in the market for retail trade of daily consumer goods between RuokaKesko Oy (hereinafter “Kesko”), Suomen Osuuskauppojen Keskuskunta (hereinafter “SOK”) and Tradeka Oy, (...)

The European Court of First Instance reduces cartel fine on the sorbates market by € 25 million (Hoechst )
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 June 2008, the Court of First Instance (CFI) handed down its judgment regarding an appeal by Hoechst AG requesting the annulment of the Commission’s decision of 1 October 2003, which found that Hoechst had participated in a cartel on the sorbates market or, in the alternative, a reduction (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority issues a report on the fixing of minimum rates for road cargo transportation
Pontificia Comillas University - ICADE
On 17 June 2008, the Spanish Competition Authority (Comisión Nacional de la Competencia, hereinafter CNC) issued, at the request of the Ministry of Public Works and Infrastructure, a report on the fixing of minimum rates for road cargo transportation and its effect on competition under both (...)

The Italian Antitrust Authority launches an investigation on alleged restrictive practices in the cosmetic sector (Cosmetics and toiletries companies)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
On 12 June 2008 the Autoritá Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (Italian Antitrust Authority, IAA) started an investigation for alleged restrictive practices against the Italian subsidiaries of a number of multinational companies active in the cosmetic sector and, namely: Henkel, Unilever, (...)

The European Commission fines Sodium Chlorate producers in a cartel case (Akzo Nobel, Finnish Chemicals, Elf Aquitaine and Uralita)
European Commission - DG COMP
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European Commission - DG COMP
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European Commission - DG TRADE
"Recent cartel cases - Sodium Chlorate and Aluminium Fluoride"* In June 2008, the Commission adopted two prohibition decisions against infringements of Article 81 of the EC Treaty and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement and imposed fines totalling some €84 million. In both cases, the product (...)

The Hungarian Court of Appeal upholds the NCA’s decision against the "road construction cartel" (Egút Egri Útépítõ, Strabag Építõ and Hídépítõ)
Hogan Lovells
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Hogan Lovells
With its judgment of second instance adopted on 11 June 2008, the Metropolitan Court of Appeal has upheld the judgment of first instance and therefore the decision of the Hungarian Competition Authority in the lawsuit brought by Egút Egri Útépítõ Zrt, Strabag Építõ Zrt and Hídépítõ Zrt as plaintiffs (...)

The French NCA sanctions four companies for bid rigging practices in the moderate-rent housing sector but significantly reduces the amount of the fine in application of the settlement procedure (Spid, Spid Anjou, Haute Mayenne Services, Onet Services)
White & Case (Paris)
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French Competition Authority (Paris)
In its decision dated 11 June 2008, the French Competition Council sanctioned four companies that tendered to a servicing of premises bid launched by a Public Office for moderate-rent housing, for violating Articles 81 of the EC Treaty and its French equivalent, article L. 420-1 of the (...)

The UK OFT secures the first ever criminal convictions against individuals for cartel offences: A milestone in antitrust enforcement (Marine Hoses Cartel)
Bond Dickinson
Introduction On 11 June 2008, at Southwark Crown Court, His Honour Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC marked the beginning of a new era in antitrust enforcement in the UK when he entered the first ever criminal convictions against individuals for a cartel offence under section 188 of the Enterprise Act (...)

The UK Office of Fair Trading issues the first imprisonment and director’s disqualification orders against individuals prosecuted for criminal cartel (Marine Hoses Cartel)
WTG Events
On 19 December 2007, the Office of Fair Trading (hereinafter “OFT”) charged three UK businessmen with cartel offence under the Enterprise Act. This was the first time that charges had been brought for cartel offence. The three men were arrested at the airport, where they were, following the (...)

An Italian administrative Court confirms that a cartel took place in hospital supplies but slashes down fines (Bristol Myers Squibb)
Latham & Watkins (Brussels)
Introduction The Regional Administrative Tribunal of Latium, Rome Section (“TAR Latium”) by a judgment published on 6 June 2008 has upheld a decision of the Italian Antitrust Authority (“IAA”) finding that four companies had rigged supplies of ostomy products to the Italian National Health System (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission imposes surcharges on manufacturers and sellers of steel pipe piles and steel sheet piles for having implemented an anticompetitive price-fixing agreement (JFE Steel, Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Industrie)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
Cease and Desist Order and Surcharge Payment Order against Manufacturers and Sellers of Steel Pipe Piles and Steel Sheet Piles* The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), in accordance with the provisions of the Antimonopoly Act (AMA), has investigated manufacturers and sellers of steel pipe (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines a bakers trade association for price-fixing practices (Unione Panificatori-Listino Prezzi del Pane)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
By a recent decision the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has condemned the Rome’s branch of the Italian trade association of bakers (Unione Panificatori) for fixing retail prices for bread in the city and province of Rome. The facts of the case In September 2007, following a meeting of the (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority assesses possible concerted practices of oil companies (Mercado dos Combustíveis)
Luís Silva Morais & Associados
The Portuguese Competition Authority (“Autoridade da Concorrência”, hereinafter ‘ADC’), has recently presented a controversial Report on the formation of oil prices and the functioning of oil markets in Portugal. This Report, presented on the 2nd of June, has been produced taking into account a (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Maltese Competition Authority extends interim measures to suspend restrictive practices likely to cause serious, immediate and irreparable prejudice to competition (Melita Cable)
Following the decision of the Commission for Fair Trading (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Commission’) dated 19 May 2006, and in terms of Article 15(7) of Maltese Competition Act, the Director of the Office for Fair Trading (hereinafter referred to as ‘Director’) and a competitor (Multiplus (...)

The Polish Competition Authority imposes a financial penalty on an authors’ association for a late compliance with a previous cease and desist order (ZAiKS)
French National Research Agency (ANR)
Article 107 of the Act of 16 February 2007 on Competition and Consumer Protection (hereafter: the ACCP) provides, inter alia, that the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (hereafter : the OCCP President) may impose on undertakings a financial penalty equivalent up to (...)

The French Supreme Court questions allocation of costs in a predatory pricing Case (Vedettes inter-îles vendéennes)
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel (Paris)
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Eversheds Sutherland (Paris)
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Eversheds Sutherland (Paris)
1. Facts and ruling The Régie départementale des passages d’eau de la Vendée (RDPEV) is the provider of a public service : it operates year-round in any weather daily ferry services for passengers, cargo and vehicles between the mainland and l’île d’Yeu. For this purpose, RDPEV uses three vessels : (...)

The European Commission publishes commitments offered by an energy operator to resolve two outstanding investigations under Article 82 EC (E.ON)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute
On 12 June 2008, the Commission adopted a press release announcing the beginning of market-testing for commitments offered by E.ON to resolve two outstanding investigations under Article 82 EC. The Commission previously welcomed the submission of such proposals on 28 February 2008. In the (...)

A Lithuanian District Administrative Court upholds the Lithuanian NCA’s infringement decision on unfair pricing in the underground communications tunnels sector (Vilniaus Energija v Competition Council)
Lithuanian Competition Council
On 2 June 2008 the Vilnius District Administrative Court (the “VDAC” or the “Court”) rejected an appeal brought by UAB Vilniaus Energija (the “VE”) against the Competition Council’s infringement decision fining the appellant for unfair pricing practices. In the original infringement decision the NCA (...)

Mergers

The European Commission conditionally clears an acquisition in the chemicals production industry (Hexion/Huntsman)
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European Commission - DG COMP
"Mergers: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2008"* In July the proposed acquisition of Huntsman Corporation by Hexion Specialty Chemicals Inc. was approved subject to conditions. Both parties to the transaction are US-based chemical manufacturers Hexion, which is owned by the (...)

The German Federal Cartel Office clears a high profile merger between two German food discount retail chains subject to conditions (EDEKA/Tengelmann)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Berlin)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
On 30 June 2008, the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) cleared a merger between two German food discount retailers, subject to divestiture conditions . A high-profile case On 28 December 2007, the German retail giants EDEKA Zentrale AG & Co. KG (EDEKA) and Tengelmann (...)

The German Federal Cartel Office clears the merger of two large retail chains of discount food stores subject to the divestiture of a large number of discount stores (Tengelmann/EDEKA)
Humboldt University (Berlin)
The operation On 28 December 2008, EDEKA and Tengelmann notified the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) of their intention to merge their food discount chains Netto-Marken Discount (“Netto”) and Plus Warenhandelsgesellschaft mbH (“Plus”). EDEKA is Germany’s largest food retailer and owned the (...)

The European Commission conditionally clears an acquisition in the tobacco industry (British American Tobacco/Skandinavisk Tobakskompagni)
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European Commission - DG COMP
"Mergers: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2008"* In June conditional approval was given to British American Tobacco’s (BAT) proposed acquisition of the cigarette business together with certain roll-your-own tobacco and ‘snus’ (a type of oral tobacco) interests of the Danish company (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority clears the acquisition of a port’s bulk liquid terminal business, further to an in-depth investigation on the impact of such operation in the fuels market at national level (Galp/Sines Bulk Liquid Terminal)
Uria Menéndez (Lisbon)
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Uria Menéndez (Lisbon)
On 26 June 2008, the Portuguese Competition Authority (hereinafter, the “AdC”) adopted a merger control decision in accordance with Law 18/2003 of 11 June (the Portuguese Competition Law), which approved the proposed acquisition by GALP Group (“GALP”) of the Port of Sines’ bulk liquid terminal (...)

The European Commission conditionally clears an acquisition in the market for production and distribution of TV programs, TV satellite and cable broadcasting (News Corp/Premiere)
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European Commission - DG COMP
"Mergers: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2008"* In June a conditional approval was granted to the proposed acquisition of Germany’s pay-TV operator Premiere AG by News Corporation (News Corp) of the US. The approval was granted subject to commitments which would ensure third (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority conditionally clears the acquisition of sole control over the rights to exploit hydroelectric power stations (EDP - Gestão da Produção de Energia and EDIA - Empresa de Desenvolvimento e Infra-Estruturas de Alqueva)
Cuatrecasas, Goncalves Pereira (Lisbon)
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Entidade Nacional para o Mercado dos Combustíveis, E.P.E. (Portuguese National Entity for Fuel Market)
On 14 January 2008, EDP notified the Competition Authority (“AdC”) of the acquisition of sole control over the rights held by EDIA to exploit Alqueva and Pedrógão hydroelectric power stations. Through this transaction, EDIA assigned to EDP the rights it had been conferred upon by the Portuguese (...)

The Italian Competition Authority amends behavioural remedies previously imposed in a concentration between two major Italian air carriers (Alitalia/Volare)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
The Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has recently revised and modified the commitments it imposed for the approval of the 2006 concentration between two major Italian air carriers, Alitalia and Volare. The ICA conditionally cleared the transaction by requiring Alitalia to release the (...)

The European Commission clears an acquisition in the retail and wholesale markets for everyday consumer goods (Rewe Group/ADEG)
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European Commission - DG COMP
"Mergers: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2008"* In June the Commission approved the proposed takeover of ADEG of Austria by the German REWE Group, subject to conditions. Both parties were active on the Austrian retail and wholesale markets for everyday consumer goods. The (...)

The Polish National Competition Authority clears with remedies a merger in the cinema sector (Multikino - Silver Screen)
White & Case (Warsaw)
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SAS Institute (Warsaw)
This article considers the possible precedent set by the Chairman of the OCCP’s decision, dated 20 June 2008, clearing the takeover by Multikino of the Silver Screen companies, operators of movie theaters, subject to a condition preventing Multikino from opening a new movie theater (decision N° (...)

The US DoJ requires the sale of copies of three databases before approving a merger in the financial data sector (Thomson / Reuters)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
Despite the presence of a number of competitive overlaps and a nine– month investigation by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”), after agreeing to sell copies of three databases in the U.S., Reuters Group PLC (Reuters) and The Thomson Corporation (Thomson) (...)

The US FTC dismisses merger challenge after parties publicly announced to abandon the proposed acquisition in the healthcare industry (Inova / PWHS)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
Inova Health System Foundation (Inova) and Prince William Health System, Inc. (PWHS) announced today that they will abandon their proposed merger. This announcement comes after the Federal Trade Commission sought to preliminarily enjoin the merger so that it could conduct a “Fast Track” (...)

The European Commission conditionally clears an acquisition in the insurance sector (Vienna Insurance Group/Erste Bank)
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European Commission - DG COMP
"Mergers: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2008"* On 17 June the Commission decided to approve, subject to conditions, the proposed acquisition by Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) of the insurance subsidiaries of Austria’s Erste Bank. Vienna Insurance Group is an international (...)

The Hungarian Competition Office clears with conditions the acquisition of press logistics company by JV of magazine publishers (Ringier Kiadó, Népszabadság, Sanoma Budapest, MédiaLog)
lakatos, koves and partners
Magyar Előfizetői Vagyonkezelő Kft. ("MEV"), a Hungarian JV owned by the Ringier group (including the Hungarian daily Népszabadság) and the Sanoma group, acquired from F-Log AG 51 per cent of the shares of MédiaLog Zrt. ("MédiaLog"), which is one of the two major magazine distributors in Hungary. (...)

The French National Competition Authority clears in Phase II with behavioural remedies a merger in the rolling shutters sector and gives its assessment of conglomerate effects (Somfy/Zurflüh-Feller)
European Commission - DG COMP
Introduction After an in-depth phase II investigation, on 12 June 2008 the French Minister for Economy, Indutry and Employment (hereafter, the MinisterMinister), cleared the acquisition of Zürfluh-Feller by Somfy. Both companies are active on the market for accessories to construct rolling (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority approves a joint venture in the construction services market (Goldman Sachs-TAV Yatýrým Holding)
Erdem & Erdem (Istanbul)
In its decision dated 12 June 2008 and numbered 08-39/513-188, Turkish Competition Board (hereinafter referred as “Board”) unconditionally cleared the creation of a joint venture between Goldman Sachs International Bank (hereinafter referred as “Goldman Sachs”) and TAV Yatýrým Holding A.Þ. by (...)

The French Minister of Economics conditionally clears a conglomerate merger in the sector of component for rolling shutters aimed at preventing "mixed" bundling and technical tying (Somfy/Zurflüh-Feller)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The operation In this case, the Minister cleared the acquisition of Somy and Zurflüh-Feller with remedies. Both companies are manufacturing components for shutters, with strong market shares, but small horizontal overlaps, each company being specialised in different components. The market(s) (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority issues a draft decree on the notification of concentrations in view of entering into force of the new Competition Act
Roschier (Stockholm)
On 12 June 2008, the Swedish Parliament approved the new Competition Act (hereinafter the “Competition Act“) which will enter into force on 1st November 2008. The Competition Act introduces various amendments in the area of merger control which aim at making the procedures under the Competition (...)

The Norwegian Competition Authority approved a merger in the retail grocery sector subject to the condition that the acquirer offers a competitor the opportunity to buy or rent one of the merged group’s two stores in a specific area (Rema 1000 / Lidl)
Ernst & Young
The operation Rema 1000 notified the Norwegian Competition Authority (NCA) of its acquisition of Lidl Norge (Lidl) on 14 March 2008. In March 2008 Rema 1000 had 409 retail grocery stores in Norway and Lidl had 50 retail grocery stores in Norway. The market(s) concerned by remedy(ies) The (...)

The European Commission conditionally clears a merger in the paper production sector (Arjowiggins/M-Real Zanders’ Reflex paper mill)
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European Commission - DG COMP
"Mergers: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2008"* In June the Commission approved the proposed takeover of the Reflex paper production mill in Germany that currently belongs to the Finnish paper manufacturer M-Real, by the French paper manufacturer Arjowiggins, subject to (...)

The French Minister of Economy approves without remedy a concentration in the sector of agricultural cooperatives despite high market shares on several markets (Agrial/Union Set)
Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier
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Moskvina Law, PLLC
Agrial is an agricultural cooperative with over 24,000 members. Union Set is another agricultural cooperative with nearly 16,000 members. The concentration results in overlaps in the following markets : the sale of live animals for laughter; retail of hardware, gardening and landscaping tools ; (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority conditionally clears a merger in the sector of construction (A.C.B. SIA/8 CBR AS)
Raidla Lejins & Norcous (Riga)
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Cobalt Legal (Riga)
The operation On 21 December 2007 the Competition Council received a notification of A.C.B. SIA (A.C.B.) and 8 CBR AS (8 CBR) regarding a proposed transaction whereby A.C.B. would acquire the shares of 8 CBR and thus also decisive influence over it. (Section 1) The market(s) The relevant (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority clears a merger in the roadworks sector subject to behavioural remedies relating to procurement and non-discrimination obligations (A.C.B. / 8 CBR)
Raidla Lejins & Norcous (Riga)
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Cobalt Legal (Riga)
On 2nd June 2008, the Latvian Competition Council adopted a decision conditionally clearing the acquisition of control over AS 8 CBR (hereinafter “8 CBR”) by AS A.C.B. (hereinafter “A.C.B.”) notified on 21st December 2007. A.C.B. is a joint stock company active in construction and maintenance of (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority clears the acquisition of a port’s bulk liquid terminal business, further to an in-depth investigation on the impact of such operation in the fuels market at national level (Galp/Sines Bulk Liquid Terminal)
Uria Menéndez (Lisbon)
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Uria Menéndez (Lisbon)
On 26 June 2008, the Portuguese Competition Authority (hereinafter, the “AdC”) adopted a merger control decision in accordance with Law 18/2003 of 11 June (the Portuguese Competition Law), which approved the proposed acquisition by GALP Group (“GALP”) of the Port of Sines’ bulk liquid terminal (...)

State Aid

The Austrian Constitutional Court rules that the beneficiaries of unlawful aid cannot rely on a legitimat of expectations to resist the recovery (ÖkostromG)
Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (Munchen)
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PETER THYRI Competition Counseling Research
Factual Background The judgment concerns a review of the constitutionality of the Austrian Ökostromgesetz of 2002 (ÖkostromG) in an appeal over reimbursement of additional cost for CHP electricity production provided for in that law. Reimbursement is subject to a number of criteria under the (...)

The EU Court of First Instance partly annuls Commission’s decision declaring State aid for air transport losses connected with the New York terrorist attacks incompatible with the common market (Olympiaki Aeroporia Ypiresies)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 25 June 2008, the Court of First Instance (hereinafter the “CFI”) annulled in part the Commission decision declaring certain aid granted to a Greek airline as compensation for losses resulting from the events of 11 September 2001 incompatible with the common market. The CFI held, in (...)

The French Civil Court of Appeal of Basse-Terre holds that third parties cannot request a national court to statute on the alleged incompatibility of a State aid measure but confirms national courts’ jurisdiction for claims for damages (Primistères Reynoird)
Sheppard Mullin (Brussels)
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European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Factual Background The society Primistères Reynoird imports goods from the continental part of France and other Member States of the European Union to Guyana and paid the levies in relation to the dock dues and an additional tax for the period between 1 October 1991 and 31 December 1992. In (...)

The Dutch Council of State considers the preferential treatment of a company, which exploits an airport by the construction of the enlargement of the airport, to be illegal State aid in breach of Art. 87-88 EC (Municipality of Haren)
Hogan Lovells (Amsterdam)
Factual Background In 2001 the Minister of Transport and Water Management amended the decree pursuant to which the airport in Eelde was designated an airport. The amendments concern the length of the runway and the maximum noise pollution. As a result of the changes bigger airplanes were (...)

The Austrian Supreme Court rules that a system of official inserts in a newspaper does not violate the Austrian Act Against Unfair Competition since it constitutes existing State aid and thus is not subject to the prohibition of implementation (Die Presse)
Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (Munchen)
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PETER THYRI Competition Counseling Research
Factual Background “Die Presse” is a privately held Austrian daily newspaper. “Wiener Zeitung” (WZ), a private company owned by the Austrian Government, is a daily newspaper with an official insert used by the Austrian Government to publish formal announcements such as newly passed laws, civil (...)

The Austrian Supreme Court rules that an advantage that may qualify as an existing State aid under Art. 87 EC may be considered permissible as long as the EC Commission has not declared this advantage as being incompatible (Newspaper cross-financing, Wiener Zeitung II)
Salzburg University
On 10 June, 2008, the Austrian Supreme Court ruled that the view according to which an advantage that may qualify as an existing state aid measure under Article 87 EC may be considered permissible as long as the Commission has not declared this advantage as being incompatible with the Common (...)

The Finnish Supreme Administrative Court upholds the earlier decision of the Administrative Court and rules that such a small-scale activity as the one in question does not affect the competition circumstances to the extent that it could be regarded as constituting State aid (Ylä-Savo Board)
Dittmar & Indrenius
Factual Background The applicants were private entrepreneurs operating a driving school business in Eastern Finland. As a result of an amendment of the Decree on Driving Licenses (Ajokorttiasetus, statute number 433/1996), driving instruction for heavy articulated vehicles and buses required a (...)

The Dutch Court of Appeal rules that granting GSM frequencies to two mobile operators for no consideration is not a form of unlawful State aid (Orange Nederland)
Hogan Lovells (Amsterdam)
Factual Background On 1 September 1994, the Dutch Act on Telecommunication Services (Wet op de Telecommunicatievoorzieningen) came into force, implementing Directive 87/372/EEC of 25 June 1987. On the basis of this Directive, all Member States agreed to allocate frequencies to (digital) mobile (...)

Procedures

The Turkish Parliament passes reform of competition providing parallel regulation with the EU and other developed countries’ practices, reference to EU competition law and amendment proposals within the scope of OECD
Erdem & Erdem (Istanbul)
The Draft Law to amend the Law on the Protection of Competition (the “Law”) which was published in the Official Gazette n° 22140 dated 19 December 1994 and which became effective as of said date was submitted to the Presidency of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on 23 June 2008. What is (...)

The Spanish Competition Authorities approves recommendations for the Spanish public authorities in relation to the competition rules and informs of some of its priorities for the future
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
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Garrigues
Summer months have been particularly quiet in Spain in terms of private and public antitrust enforcement. With extra time to reflect, the brand new unified Spanish Competition Authority (Comisión Nacional de Competencia, hereinafter “CNC”) has decided to use its powers under Article 26 of the (...)

The Swedish Parliament adopts a new Competition Act
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 12 June 2008, the Swedish Parliament adopted a new Competition Act, which is said to give the current Swedish Competition Act of 1993 a “thorough facelift”. According to a press release from the Swedish Competition Authority, the new rules will bring Swedish competition law more closely in (...)

The UK OFT issues first criminal conviction under the Enterprise Act 2002 following successful OFT / DOJ cooperation (Marine Hoses Cartel)
The HR Suite
1. Summary On 11 June 2008, three UK businessmen were the first to be criminally convicted under the Enterprise Act 2002, since it came into force in 2003. After an eleven month investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), in cooperation with the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the men (...)

The French Commercial Supreme Court rules that the NCA may not rely on unfairly obtained recordings as evidence (Sony France and Philips France)
Vogel & Vogel
A small consumer electronics discount retailer brought an action before the Competition Council against some of its suppliers for vertical agreements made with their respective distributors. In support of the action, the retailer produced tapes containing the recordings of phone conversations (...)

The Hungarian Parliament votes an amendment to the Competition Act introducing director disqualification, facilitating private damages actions, streamlining leniency policy and amending the substantive test applicable in merger control (T/5657)
Ernst & Young
An amendment of the Hungarian Competition Act passed by the Parliament on 3 June 2008 brings fundamental changes by introducing company director disqualification, facilitating private damages actions, streamlining leniency policy and amending the substantive test applicable in merger control. (...)

The Hungarian Parliament adopts amendments to the Competition Act
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 2 June 2008, the Hungarian Parliament adopted amendments to the Hungarian Competition Act. The amendments will enter into force in September 2008. The most important modifications concern leniency, damages actions and merger control. The Hungarian leniency regime will be integrated in the (...)

The Montenegrin Ministry of Economic Development released nation’s first Strategy for Competition Policy (Strategija Politike Konkurencije)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
The Law for Protection of Competition enforced from 1 January 2006 (as amended in 2007) prohibited anticompetitive agreements and concerted practices, abuse of dominant position and introduced a merger control system in Montenegro. Montenegrin Competition Authority - Administrative Competition (...)

Regulatory

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion on retail and wholesale markets of fixed telephony (ARCEP)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Conseil is favourable to reduce ex ante regulation on retail markets for fixed telephony.* The Conseil de la concurrence has just issued an opinion to the ARCEP (French regulator for electronic and postal (...)

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion on wholesale markets for high speed and very high speed (ARCEP)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Conseil de la concurrence considers that ex ante regulation is necessary given the importance of the issues relative to the deployment of fibre optics on wholesale markets for high speed and very high (...)

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