June 2009

Anticompetitive practices

The French Competition Authority adopts decision relating to agency in women’s clothing and accessories sector (Punto Fa)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 30 June 2009, the French Competition Authority adopted a decision rejecting the complaint brought by the French Minister for the Economy for alleged resale price maintenance involving Punto Fa SL (“Punto Fa”) and its agents in France. Punto Fa is a supplier of women’s clothing and accessories (...)

The Latvian Supreme Court annuls the lower court judgment in construction companies cartel case (Stats, Info Serviss, Alti A)
Competition Council of Latvia
The Senate Annuls Administrative Regional Court’s Unfavourable Judgement for the Competition Council in Construction Companies Cartel Case* On June 29, 2009 the Senator Collegium of the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate of the Supreme Court annulled the unfavourable judgement of (...)

The German Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf halves the fines to the cement cartel based on the result of an independent economic analysis (Cement Cartel)
RBB Economics (Brussels)
In 2001, the Bundeskartellamt conducted a series of dawn raids and discovered the existence of a cartel in the cement industry in Germany. Cement producers had divided the market, reaching agreements on sales quotas. This cartel had been operating at least since the beginning of the 1990s. (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice specifies the relation between the primary and secondary distribution agreements in light of the short termination period according to Article 3(5)(b) Reg. 1400/2002 (Renault Nissan Deutschland)
Dentons (Berlin)
In a decision of 24 June 2009, the German Federal Court of Justice (“BGH”) specified the relation between the primary and secondary distribution agreements in light of the short termination period provided for by Article 3(5)(b) EC Regulation 1400/2002. In its decision, the BGH upheld the (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission issues cease and desist orders and imposes surcharges on bidders for bid rigging on vehicle management jobs market (Nihon Doro Koun)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
Cease and Desist Order and Surcharge Payment Order against Participants in the Bidding for Vehicle Management Jobs Ordered by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism* The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC)investigated participants in the bidding for vehicle management jobs (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice decides on the compatibility of non-competition clauses to the detriment of minority shareholders with Art. 101 Para. 1 TFEU and Sec. 1 ARC (Gratiszeitung Hallo)
Gleiss Lutz (Munich)
,
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy (Munich)
On 23 June 2009, the German Federal Court of Justice overruled three judgments of the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf and remitted the cases back for further proceedings. In the joint proceedings before the Federal Court of Justice, the court had to decide whether a non-competition clause to (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice holds in a private antitrust enforcement case that offering varying prices in the gas retail market by different subsidiaries of the same mother company may be anticompetitive price discrimination by one economic entity (Entega)
University of East Anglia - CCP
In a private antitrust enforcement case the German Federal Court of Justice held that offering varying prices in the gas retail market by different subsidiaries of the same mother company may be anticompetitive price discrimination by one economic entity. Background German energy markets pose (...)

The Serbian Competition Authority annuls the decision of the Serbian Association of Insurers regulating the terms of the Casco auto insurance services (Serbian Association of Insurers)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 5 June 2008 the Administrative Council of the Serbian Association of Insurers (Udruženje osiguravača Srbije) (UOS) on the basis of the preceding opinion of its Commission for Motor Vehicles (Komisija za motorna vozila) adopted a decision regulating the Casco auto insurance services provided by (...)

The Italian Competition Authority investigates a bar association to determine whether its decision constitutes a decision by an association of undertakings with the aim of infringing competition law (Order of Lawyers in Brescia)
University of Bologna
The Italian Competition Authority (hereinafter AGCM) is to investigate the Order of Lawyers in Brescia to determine whether the Order’s decision, which punished for unfair and unbecoming conduct two Italian lawyers of the law firm “Legal Aid for All” (ALT), constitutes a decision by an association (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority imposes commitments on the pricing of ATM withdrawals by three banks which own the dominant ATM operator (Norde Bank / OP Bank / Sampo Bank)
Roschier (Helsinki)
The Finnish Competition Authority (“FCA”) has on 18 June 2009 imposed binding commitments on Nordea Bank Finland Plc (“Nordea”), OP-Pohjola Group (“OP”) and Sampo Bank Plc (“Sampo”) (jointly “Banks”) concerning their pricing of ATM withdrawals. The Banks own Automatia Pankkiautomaatit Oy (“Automatia”), (...)

The Australian Senate passes a bill that introduces new criminal and civil offenses on cartel conduct (Trade Practices Amendment - Cartel Conduct and Other measures - Bill 2009)
Winston & Strawn (New York)
,
Jones Day (Sydney)
Following the international trend towards criminalizing cartel offenses, the Australian Senate passed a bill on June 16 that amends the key antitrust law in Australia, the Trade Practices Act 1974, by introducing parallel civil and criminal sanctions on cartel conduct. The Trade Practices (...)

The Slovak Competition Authority imposes fine of € 10.2 M on banks for their involvement in an alleged cartel (Erste Group, Intesa Sanpaolo, KBC Groep)
Van Bael & Bellis
According to a press release of 12 June 2009, the Slovak Competition Authority has imposed fines on three foreign-owned banks operating in Slovakia, Slovenska sporitelna, a.s. (Erste Group), Ceskoslovenska obchodna banka, a.s. (Intesa Sanpaolo) and Vseobecna uverova banka, a.s. (KBC Groep) for (...)

The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court quashes an NCA decision applying Art. 3.1.g and 10 in conjunction with Art. 81 EC on grounds of separation of powers and national procedural autonomy (Chamber of the design engineers)
Kinstellar (Sofia)
The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court (the “SAC”) annulled the first decision of the Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition (the “CPC”) declaring domestic statutory provisions incompatible with Articles 3(1)(g) and 10 in conjunction with Article 81 of the EC Treaty and that (...)

The Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court upholds the appeals against the NCA’s decision and orders a reinvestigation of the role of two dairies in the non-pricing information exchange scheme (Dairies III)
Lithuanian Competition Council
On 11 June 2009 the Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court (LSAC or the Court) overruled the earlier judgment of the Vilnius District Administrative Court (VDAC) and upheld the appeals brought by two dairy firms - AB Rokiðkio sûris (RS) and UAB Marijampolës pieno konservai (MPK) - against the (...)

The Moscow Federal Arbitration Court uphold the decision of the NCA prosecuting two petroleum companies for concerted price coordination (Gazpromneft Kuzbass and Tomsknefteprodukt)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 9 April 2008 Russian Competition Authority (FAS) found two petrochemical companies ZAO “Gazpromneft Kuzbass” (Gazpromneft Kuzbass) and OOO “Tomsknefteprodukt” VNK (Tomsknefteprodukt) in violation of the national provision equivalent to Article 81 EC. Both companies were active on gasoline retail (...)

The Polish competition authority imposes a financial penalty on a collective copyright management association for practices restricting competition (SAWP)
Wiercinski Kwiecinski Baehr (Poznan)
,
Orange (Warsaw)
Introduction Polish competition authority questions the practices of the Polish Musical Performing Artists’ Association (SAWP - Stowarzyszenie Artystów Wykonawców Utworów Muzycznych i Słowno-Muzycznych). In the decision from June 10, 2009, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer (...)

The Competition Council of the Republic of Lithuania fines several undertakings for an agreement on a fixed tender fee (Advertising and Media Planning Agencies and their Association)
Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (Munchen)
On 4 June 2009 the Competition Council fined a number of advertising and media planning agencies and their Association KOMAA (further: “the Association”) for an infringement of Article 5 of the Law on Competition (a national provision equivalent to Article 101 TFEU) by having fixed a common fee (...)

The European Court of Justice clarifies the notion of concerted practice and holds that a single meeting amongst competitors where they exchanged sensitive information can be caught by EU Antitrust rules (T-Mobile Netherlands)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
Concerted practices, greyhounds, swans and alcoholmeters* Adam Smith wrote in the Wealth of Nations that “two greyhounds, in running down the same hare, have sometimes the appearance of acting in some sort of concert. Each turns her towards his companion, or endeavours to intercept her when his (...)

The Spanish NCA imposes a 10% turnover fine on the association of sherry wine producers for concluding anticompetitive agreements infringing both Art. 81 EC and mirror national provisions (Consejo Regulador de Denominación de Origen de Vinos de Jerez y Manzanilla de Sanlúcar)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
The Spanish NCA imposes a 10% turnover fine on the Association of Sherry wine producers for concluding three agreements infringing Article 1 of the Spanish Competition Act and Article 81 of the EC Treaty. The Spanish National Competition Commission (“CNC”) has ruled that the three agreements (...)

The Japanese Parliament passes amendments to the Anti-Monopoly Act to strengthen cartel enforcement and expand the scope of single-firm conduct subject to fines
Winston & Strawn (New York)
,
Jones Day (Tokyo)
,
Jones Day (Tokyo)
On June 3, 2009, the Japanese Diet passed a bill that will amend the Japanese Anti-Monopoly Act (“Amendments”) to impose larger surcharges (administrative fines) on companies engaged in cartels and certain types of unilateral conduct and increased prison sentences for individuals participating in (...)

The Turkish Competition Board publishes a guide to vertical agreements
Erdem & Erdem
Pursuant to Article 5 of the Act for the Protection of Competition numbered 4054 (“Competition Act”), the Turkish Competition Board (“CB”) has the authority to issue communiqués granting block exemptions to agreements which fulfill certain conditions. The CB has issued a Block Exemption Communiqué (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Latvian Competition Council imposes fines and legal obligations on distributors of TV channel (VIASAT, TV3)
Competition Council of Latvia
Fines and Legal Obligations Imposed on Distributors of TV Channel TV3* On 18 June 2009 Competition Council (CC) fined VIASAT AS (Estonia) and TV3 Latvia Ltd. for the abuse of dominant position in the market of distribution of television channel TV3 on the territory of Latvia. Both companies (...)

The Athens Administrative Court of Appeal partially annuls the decision of the Hellenic Competition Commission on the parallel trade of pharmaceuticals (GlaxoSmithKline)
Bank of Greece
I. Introduction On 30 June 2009, the Athens Administrative Court of Appeal (Dioikitiko Efeteio Athinon, hereafter: the Court) delivered Decision No 2019/2009 annulling partially Decision No 318/V/2006 of the Hellenic Competition Commission (Elliniki Epitropi Antagonismou, hereafter: HCC) to (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority clears a natural gas supplier of allegations of abusive pricing for the supply of gas (Productschap Tuinbouw / GasTerra)
Van Doorne (Amsterdam)
I. Introduction In its decision of 26 June 2009, the Dutch competition authority (Nederlandse Mededingingsautoriteit, « NMa ») assessed a complaint brought by the Dutch Federation of Agriculture and Horticulture (Land- en Tuinbouw Organisatie, « LTO ») and Glaskracht Nederland (« Glaskracht ») (...)

The Danish Competition Council fines the incumbent postal operator for abusive rebates in the market for direct mailing (Post Danmark)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Practising Law Institute
In a decision adopted on 24 June 2009, the Danish Competition Council (DCC) found that the Danish post operator Post Danmark had abused its dominant position on the market for direct mailing (“direct mailing” refers to the sending by the same party of a large batch of letters to a group of (...)

The Czech NCA accepts the first settlement in a unilateral conduct case (RWE Transgas - Quiet life)
Government of the Czech Republic
,
European Court of Justice
On 24 June 2009, the Czech Office for the Protection of Competition entered into a settlement with RWE Transgas (“RWE”), the dominant Czech operator in the natural gas market, concerning RWE’s conduct towards its retail customers in late 2008 and in the first half of 2009. In September 2008, (...)

The Japanese Competition Authority finds the prevention by a franchisor of discount sales of fresh foods and beverages by franchisees to be an abuse of a superior bargaining position (Seven-Eleven Japan)
Anderson Mori & Tomotsune (Tokyo)
,
Anderson Mori & Tomotsune (Tokyo)
I. Introduction On 22 June 2009, the Japan Fair Trade Commission (“JFTC”) found that Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd. (“SEJ”) abused its superior bargaining position in violation of Article 19 of the Antimonopoly Act (“AMA”) by forcing some of its franchisees to stop discount sales of fresh foods and (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission issues a cease and desist order against a franchising business company for having abused of its dominant bargaining position (Seven-Eleven)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
Cease and Desist Order against Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd.* The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC)investigated Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Seven-Eleven Japan) in accordance with the provision of the Antimonopoly Act and found that Seven-Eleven Japan was in violation (...)

The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court dismisses the charges of abuse of dominance launched against the national railway infrastructure company (Polygraphsnab)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 22 June 2009 the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria upheld the decision of the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) that rejected the charges concerning abuse of dominant position committed by the National Railway Infrastructure Company (NRIC). The case originated from the complaint (...)

The Danish Eastern High Court overturns decision by the Competition Appeal Tribunal and finds that a broadcaster has abused its dominant position by granting rebates (TV2)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
On 22 June 2009, the Danish Eastern High Court overturned a decision by the Competition Appeal Tribunal - thereby confirming the earlier decision by the Danish Competition Authority - and found that the Danish broadcaster TV2 has abused its dominant position by granting loyalty enhancing (...)

The Latvian Competition Council fines two broadcast companies for abuse of dominance in the market of distribution of television channels and imposes remedies (VIASAT / TV3 Latvia )
Competition Council of Latvia
Fines and Legal Obligations Imposed on Distributors of TV Channel TV3* On 18 June 2009 Competition Council (CC) fined VIASAT AS (Estonia) and TV3 Latvia Ltd. for the abuse of dominant position in the market of distribution of television channel TV3 on the territory of Latvia. Both companies (...)

The Latvian Parliament amends the Competition Act changing the merger notification procedure and redefining the concept of dominant position in the retail sector
Competition Council of Latvia
Amendments to the Competition Law* On 1 September 2009 entered into force Amendments to the Competition Law of the Republic of Latvia. Most substantial issue of the Amendments refer to the merger control. As from September 1 merger notifications have to be submitted not only by those market (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority finds no exclusionary conduct on the market for on-screen cinema advertising despite exclusivity contracts of the dominant undertaking (Fida)
University of Leeds
The Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) has acted on a complaint alleging that Fida Film Production Distribution and Advertising Corporation (Fida Film) has entered into exclusivity agreements with all major cinema companies and foreclosed 80% of the market with these, rendering the (...)

The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court confirms an NCA’s decision fining a heating plant company for exploitative abuse of dominance (Heating Plant Ruse)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 18 June 2009 the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria upheld the decision of the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) , which prosecuted Heating Plant in the municipality of Ruse (HPR) for abuse of its dominant position on the market for production and distribution of thermal heating in (...)

The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court affirms the decision of the Bulgarian Competition Authority prosecuting a water supply operator for abuse of dominant position (Sofiyska Voda)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 17 June 2009 the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria reviewed the decision of the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) that prosecuted Sofiyska Voda (SV) , a water supply operator in Bulgarian capital of Sofia for abuse of dominant position. The facts of the case were as follows. Until (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority applies its novel approach to Joint Dominance in the waste sector (Waste Services and Waste Management)
Université de Laval
On June 16, 2009 the Canadian Competition Tribunal filed a consent agreement between the Commissioner of Competition and two commercial waste collection firms, Waste Services (CA) Inc. ("WSI") and Waste Management of Canada Corporation ("WM"), to resolve issues raised by contracts each firm (...)

The Italian Antitrust Authority accepts commitments from the official federation operating in the market of sport motoring and closes proceedings without imposing sanctions (Gargano Corse/ACI)
National University of Singapore
On 11 June 2009, the Italian Competition Authority (hereinafter, also the "Authority") closed proceedings in the sport motoring market accepting the commitments presented by the official federation and without imposing fines. Legal Background Investigation had previously started against ACI (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal holds that the definition of the relevant market requires a specific assessment in cases involving a company providing a service of general economic interest (Vedettes inter-îles vendéennes)
,
Dechert (Paris)
In a ruling of 9 June 2009 , the Paris Court of Appeal (the “Court of Appeal”) dismissed an appeal brought by the company Vedettes Inter-iles vendéennes (“VIIV”) against the French Competition Council (the “Council”) decision dated 23 December 2004. The period of 5 years between the decision and the (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice clarifies that defendants can invoke the abuse of dominance against an injunction claim of a patentee if the latter has refused a licence in an abusive manner (Orange-book-standard)
University of East Anglia - CCP
Summary In its decision of 6 May 2009 the German Federal Court of Justice held that a defendant can invoke the abuse of dominance against an injunction claim of the patentee if the latter refused a licence in an abusive manner. The patentee acts in an abusive manner if he refuses an (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice holds that defendants in patent infringement litigation can raise a “compulsory licence defence” subject to strict conditions (Orange-Book-Standard)
Blomstein
Background The Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. (“Philips”) is the holder of a patent which is essential for the production of recordable and rewritable compact discs (CD-R and CD-RW discs). Use of the patent cannot be avoided in the production of CD-R or CD-RW discs and Philips has granted (...)

The Competition Authority of Bosnia & Herzegovina rejects the complaint regarding the alleged abuse of dominant position by the incumbent operator of public postal services (MHS/JP BH Posta)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 30 December 2008 Competition Authority of Bosnia & Herzegovina (Konkurencijsko vijece BiH) (KV) received a complaint submitted by MHS d.o.o. (MHS) alleging the abuse of dominant position committed by the public operator of postal services JP BH Posta (BHP) . MHS was a private company (...)

Mergers

The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court approves of the NCA’s qualifying, with reference to Art. 3(5)(c) of Reg. 139/2004, a national-dimension acquisition of control as a concentration notifiable under the Competition Act but quashes the fine for non-notification (Allianz Leasing Bulgaria)
University Paris Dauphine
I. Introduction 1. An ex officio investigation of Allianz Bulgaria Holding’s non-notified acquisition of Allianz Leasing Bulgaria (formerly Balkan Star Services), a vehicle leasing company, gave both the Competition Protection Commission (hereinafter ‘CPC’) and the Supreme Administrative Court (...)

The EU Court of First Instance dismisses an appeal against Commission’s first decision on a joint venture in the music sector (Impala)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 30 June 2009, the Court of First Instance adopted an order dismissing Impala‘s appeal against the European Commission’s first decision clearing the joint venture between the global recorded music businesses of Sony Corporation and Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG). This dismissal is the most (...)

The UK OFT publishes new jurisdictional and procedural guidance for mergers
Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft (Brussels)
,
Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft (Brussels)
On 30 June 2009, the UK antitrust authority, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), published its ‘Jurisdictional and procedural guidance’ for mergers (Guidance). This consolidates, updates, and expands on previous OFT guidance and practice and is therefore essential reading for those involved in a (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice decides on the compatibility of non-competition clauses to the detriment of minority shareholders with Art. 101 Para. 1 TFEU and Sec. 1 ARC (Gratiszeitung Hallo)
Gleiss Lutz (Munich)
,
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy (Munich)
On 23 June 2009, the German Federal Court of Justice overruled three judgments of the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf and remitted the cases back for further proceedings. In the joint proceedings before the Federal Court of Justice, the court had to decide whether a non-competition clause to (...)

The European Commission conditionally approves a merger between German and Dutch electricity undertakings (RWE / Essent)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
Directions régionales des entreprises, de la concurrence, de la consommation, du travail et de l’emploi (Direccte)
"RWE/Essent: On the Borderline"* I. Introduction On 29 April 2009, the Commission was notified by RWE Aktiengesellschaft (“RWE”) of its intent to acquire sole control of ESSENT N.V. (“Essent”) by way of a private offer. The Commission’s investigation revealed that the proposed transaction would (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority relaxes behavioral remedies imposed in two related merger clearance decisions due to changes in market conditions (Valio)
Roschier (Helsinki)
On 23 June 2009 the Finnish Competition Authority (“FCA”) agreed to relax certain behavioral commitments imposed on Valio Oyj (“Valio”) concerning the pricing of raw milk in two earlier merger clearance decisions (case n° 1151/81/99 and case n° 619/81/04). The FCA’s assessment of the suitability of (...)

The European Commission refines its analysis of relevant markets in the airline sector and accepts slot divestitures with grandfathered rights as remedy (Lufthansa/SN Airholdings)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 22 June 2009, the European Commission approved the acquisition by Deutsche Lufthansa AG («Lufthansa») of SN Airholding SA/NV, the holding company of SN Brussels Airlines («SN Brussels»), subject to commitments. This decision indicates that the Commission is moving towards a more nuanced analysis (...)

The European Commission conditionally approves a merger in the electricity retail markets in Germany (Vattenfall, Nuon)
Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) (Slovenia)
,
Autorità per l’Energia Elettrica e il Gas
,
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"The Vattenfall / Nuon Energy case — Upholding competition on electricity retail markets in Germany"* I. Introduction The Vattenfall/Nuon case concerned the merger between two energy utilities with activities in both electricity and gas markets. However, the only significant overlaps between (...)

The Brussels Court of Appeal annuls a decision of the Competition Council which lifted a must-offer obligation previously imposed on a TV operator as a merger remedy (Telenet, Canal+)
Corsan
This decision of the Brussels Court of Appeal is the most recent episode in a seemingly never-ending quarrel between Belgacom, the Belgian telecom incumbent, and cable operator Telenet, over the acquisition of the TV broadcasting rights of the Belgian football competition. This contribution is (...)

The French National Competition Authority conditionally clears in Phase I a merger in the banking sector (Groupe Banque Populaire / Groupe Caisse d’Epargne)
University Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris)
Facing its first newsworthy merger since the Law of Modernization of the Economy came into force, the French National Competition Authority (NCA) cleared in Phase I a merger in the banking sector between Groupe Banque Populaire and Groupe Caisse d’Epargne after having (i) laid down stringent (...)

The French competition authority specifies under which conditions a merger is likely to affect competition in local markets and validates behavioural remedies due to the economic crisis (Caisse d’Epargne and Banque Populaire)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Paris)
,
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Paris)
Since it was granted jurisdiction over mergers, the Competition Authority (hereafter “the Authority”) gave its first decision of approval with commitments on June 22, 2009. Even though it was a Phase I decision, the Authority performed a very thorough analysis of the operation’s impact, especially (...)

The Latvian Competition Council approves acquisition by a holding company of a number of importers and distributors of alcoholic beverages after imposing conditions (SPV Distributor / MONO)
Kronbergs & Čukste
On June 19, 2009, the Latvian Competition Council adopted a decision conditionally clearing the acquisition of control over SIA „S.D.V.» , SIA „L.D.V.», SIA „MONO M», SIA „S.Alko» by SIA „SPV Distributor» (hereinafter «SPV Distributor»), notified on March 27, 2009. SPV Distributor is a holding company (...)

The Latvian Competition Council conditionally approves a merger on the market for alcohol distribution
Competition Council of Latvia
Binding Conditions Set on Merger of Alcohol Distribution Companies* On 18 June 2009, Latvian Competition Council (CC) adopted a decision permitting a merger between alcohol distribution companies „SPV Distributor" Ltd., „S.D.V." Ltd., „L.D.V." Ltd., „MONO M" Ltd. and „S.Alko" Ltd. (principal (...)

The European Commission issues a communication on how the EC Merger Regulation contributes to more efficient merger control in the EU
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
European Commission - DG FISMA
,
European Commission - DG CLIMA
"EC Merger Regulation contributes to more efficient merger control in EU"* According to a recent Commission report Regulation 139/2004 (the ‘EC Merger Regulation’) has contributed to more efficient merger control within the EU since it came into force on 1 May 2004. Its turnover thresholds (...)

The Brazilian Competition Authority requires divestiture of US leading supplier of soft drinks’ acquisition of Brazil’s iced tea producer (Coca-Cola, Leão Junior)
Jones Day (Mexico)
,
Jones Day (Mexico)
,
Jones Day (Madrid)
Brazil’s competition authority - Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica (the Administrative Council for Economic Defense or “CADE”) - has ordered a divestiture after a two-year review of Coca-Cola‘s acquisition of a Brazilian bottled tea company. The acquisition of Leão Junior already was (...)

The UK OFT refers "vertical" merger to the Competition Commission on the basis of "horizontal" concerns (Live Nation / Ticketmaster)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
On 11 June 2009, the Office of Fair Trading ("OFT") announced that it had decided to refer the proposed merger of Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc ("Ticketmaster") and Live Nation Inc ("Live Nation") to the Competition Commission ("CC") for an in-depth investigation. Despite the fact that there (...)

The EU Commission imposes a fine of € 20 M on electricity producer and retailer for acquiring control of a French electricity producer, without having received prior approval under the EU Merger Regulation (Electrabel / Compagnie Nationale du Rhône)
"Mergers: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2009"* The Commission imposed a fine of 20 million euros on Electrabel, an electricity producer and retailer belonging to the Suez Group (now GDF Suez) for acquiring control of Compagnie Nationale du Rhône (CNR), a French electricity (...)

The EU Commission fines Belgian electricity undertaking for infringing the standstill obligation under Merger proceedings (Electrabel / CNR)
New Horizon Partners
,
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Electrabel/CNR: the importance of the standstill obligation in merger proceedings"* On 26 March 2008, Electrabel SA (“Electrabel”), a Belgian electricity company which is part of the French group, Suez (now GDF Suez), notified to the Commission a concentration consisting in the acquisition of (...)

The EU Commission imposes a twenty million euros fine against Belgian electricity supplier for failure to notify a merger (Electrabel / CNR)
Linklaters (Hong Kong)
,
Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 10 June 2009, the European Commission (EC) imposed a fine of € 20 M on Belgian electricity supplier Electrabel for implementing a merger without seeking its prior approval, in breach of the EC Merger Regulation (ECMR). This decision merits attention not only because it is one of only a (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority following a Phase II investigation clears a merger of two petroleum companies subject to structural and behavioral remedies (MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas - INA Industrija nafte)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 9 June 2009 Croatian Competition Authority (AZTN) issued its conditional approval in relation to the proposed merger of two petroleum companies: MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas Plc. (MOL) and INA Industrija nafte d.d. (INA). MOL was already holding 25% of the INA’s share capital from 2003 and now (...)

The German Federal Cartel Office backs further consolidation in the dairy sector by inter alia authorizing the creation of a marketing joint venture between two dairy companies (Humana / Nordmilch / JV)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Berlin)
,
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
On 9 June 2009, the Federal Cartel Office (FCO) cleared the creation of a marketing joint venture between two dairy companies, Humana Milchindustrie GmbH (Humana) and Nordmilch AG (Nordmilch), that will pool sales of their respective dairy products. 1. Confirmation of settled market definition (...)

The German Federal Cartel Office publishes an interim report on its fuel sector inquiry and takes a tough stance on three petrol station mergers
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Berlin)
,
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
On 2 July 2009, the Federal Cartel Office (FCO) published an interim report on the inquiry it launched in May 2008 on the fuel sector in Germany. The report, published 6 months after the initially planned date, presents the first results of a very thorough market investigation which had already (...)

The Japanese Parliament adopts a pre-notification system for share acquisitions and modifies existing notification thresholds
Morrison & Foerster (Tokyo)
,
Tokyo University of Science
On June 3, 2009, a number of amendments (the “Amendments”) to the Act governing the Prohibition of Private Monopolization and Maintenance of Fair Trade (the “Act”) were passed by the National Diet of Japan. The Amendments comprise of several changes to the existing Act, including an increase in the (...)

State Aid

The European Commission temporarily clears a recapitalisation scheme and an asset relief measure offered to regional German bank (Landesbank Baden-Württemberg)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2009"* The European Commission granted temporary clearance to a recapitalisation scheme and an asset relief measure offered to Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) by the German State of Baden-Württemberg. The asset relief is to be (...)

The European Commission adopts a guidance paper setting out criteria for the in-depth assessment of regional aid to large investment projects
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2009"* On 24 June, the Commission adopted a guidance paper setting out criteria for the in-depth assessment of regional aid to large investment projects. The Regional Aid Guidelines 2007-13 state that large investment projects above (...)

The European Commission adopts a communication on the return to viability and the assessment of restructuring measures in the financial sector in the current crisis under the State aid rules
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2009"* On 22 June 2009 the Commission adopted a Communication on the return to viability and the assessment of restructuring measures in the financial sector in the current crisis under the State aid rules (2). This is the fifth (...)

The European Commission approves a German scheme designed to further stabilize the financial markets by providing financial institutions with the possibility of asset relief
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2009"* Under EU state aid rules, the European Commission approved a German scheme designed to further stabilise the financial markets by providing financial institutions with the possibility of asset relief. This scheme is in addition (...)

The European Commission approves State aid granted by the French government in the R&D (Carmat)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2009"* On 18 June 2009, the Commission decided not to raise any objections to the € 33 million of financial support granted by France to Carmat’s R&D programme. The lead company, Carmat S.A.S., backed up by four industrial partners (...)

The European Commission authorizes an Irish scheme of levies and tax relief in the health insurance sector
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2009"* On 18 June 2009, the Commission authorised an Irish scheme of levies and tax relief in the health insurance sector. The scheme aims to promote intergenerational solidarity by decreasing the risk differentials between old and (...)

The European Commission authorizes € 51.9 M of aid which Spanish authorities intend to grant to company active in the automobile industry (Ford España)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2009"* On 18 June 2009, under EU state aid rules, the Commission authorised € 51.9 million of aid which the Spanish authorities intend to grant to Ford España, part of the Ford Motor Company, for radically transforming their existing (...)

A Swedish Administrative Court finds that the transfer of a number of public schools and kindergartens to a private undertaking constitutes illegal aid under national law (Lagergreen)
Swedavia AB
,
Öberg & Associés
,
Öberg & Associés
Factual Background In 2008 the Municipality Board in Upplands Väsby decided to transfer a number of public schools and kindergartens to a private company, Magnetica Education AB. The transfer price was 2 136 000 SEK which was the estimated value of the inventory and equipment in the schools and (...)

The European Commission adopts two guidance papers setting out criteria for the in-depth assessment of large amounts of training aid and of aid to disadvantaged and disabled workers
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2009"* On 3 June 2009, as a part of its efforts to clarify and simplify state aid rules, the Commission adopted two guidance papers setting out criteria for the in-depth assessment of large amounts of training aid and of aid to (...)

Procedures

The Swedish Competition Authority uses for the first time the "fine order" procedure as parties accepted not to refute the existence of a cartel in the energy sector (Rundvirke Poles)
Bird & Bird (Stockholm)
The Swedish Competition Authority (“SCA”) fined the undertaking Rundvirke Poles AB (“Rundvirke”) in the amount of SEK 2 million (approximately EUR 208.360) for illicit cartel behaviour on the market for power-line poles. While the level of the fine or the decision itself does not carry any (...)

The Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court expresses an interpretation of the maximum basic level of fine possible within the law of 10% of company turnover which deviates from the legal opinion and application practice of the German Federal Cartel Office (Cement manufacturers)
White & Case (Hambourg)
In its ruling of 26 June 2009, the OLG Düsseldorf has considerably reduced the original fines imposed by the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) on five cement manufacturers for con-cluding quota agreements. Apart from this aspect, the ruling also contains a rather basic sec-tion in which the OLG (...)

The Russian Constitutional Court confirms the constitutionality of certain provision of the Competition Law regulating the powers of the national competition authority (Gazenergoset and Nizhnekamskneftkhim)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
In 2006 two companies, applicants in the present case, OAO “Gazenergoset” and OAO “Nizhnekamskneftkhim” have been found in violation of the competition law. Russian Competition Authority (Федеральная Антимонопольная Служба) (FAS) found that undertakings concerned participated in the concerted practices and (...)

The Croatian Parliament adopts new competition law
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 24 June 2009, the Croatian Parliament (Hrvatski sabor) adopted new competition law, which will be enforced by the Croatian Competition Authority (Agencija za zaštitu tržišnog natjecanja) (AZTN) from 1 October 2010. The adoption of the new law pursued two primary aims: 1) further harmonization (...)

The US President signs legislation extending provisions of the ACPERA thus allowing successful leniency applicants to avoid treble damages
Sheppard Mullin (San Francisco)
Obama Signs Legislation Extending Limitations On Civil Liability For Amnesty Applicants* On June 19, President Barack Obama signed legislation extending provisions of the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act of 2004 ("ACPERA") that allow successful amnesty applicants under the (...)

The European Court of Justice, issuing a preliminary ruling in answer to a reference made by a Dutch Court, holds that the Commission may submit on its own initiative, on the basis of Art. 15.3 of Reg. 1/2003, written observations to national courts in proceedings relating to the deductibility from taxable profits of the amounts of a fine imposed for infringement of Art. 81 and 82 EC (X BV)
European Commission - DG HR
,
European Court of Justice
On 11 June 2009, the ECJ issued a preliminary ruling in answer to a reference made by the Court of Appeal of Amsterdam, which asked whether the Commission was competent, under Article 15(3) of Regulation n° 1/2003 , to submit, on its own initiative, written observations to a national court in (...)

The Chinese State Administration for Industry and Commerce (“SAIC”) adopts two sets of procedural provisions to implement specific areas of the Anti-Monopoly Law
Kastell
,
Linklaters (Beijing)
On 5 June, China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (“SAIC”) adopted two sets of procedural provisions to implement three areas of the Anti-Monopoly Law (“AML”), namely monopolistic agreement, abuse of market dominant position, and abuse of administrative power (excluding such conduct (...)

The Chinese Antitrust Authority publishes new procedural rules for non-merger investigations
Jones Day (Beijing)
,
Jones Day (Beijing)
,
Winston & Strawn (New York)
On June 5, 2009, the PRC State Administration of Industry and Commerce (« SAIC ») published two new sets of procedural rules to implement the Chinese Anti-Monopoly Law (« AML »). One set of rules deals with procedures for the investigation and handling of cases involving monopoly agreements and (...)

The new Hungarian Competition Act substantially modifies, inter alia, leniency regime and introduces a new substantive merger test (Act n° XIV of 2009)
King’s College (London)
Until the latest amendment of the Competition Act - which came into effect on 1 June 2009 - the GVH’s leniency policy was based on the Leniency Notice of the GVH (Hungarian Competition Authority). But the need to increase legal certainty for undertakings required the leniency rules to be (...)

Regulatory

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion on the fuel prices in the French overseas departments
French Competition Authority
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Fuel prices in the overseas départments (DOM): The Autorité de la concurrence has ascertained deviations from the current regulation : it recommends strengthening the price regulations applicable to monopolies (...)

All issues

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