March 2016

Anticompetitive practices

The Commercial Court of Appeal of Kiev City quashes the ruling of a lower court upholding the decision of the Antimonopoly Committee in a case involving allegations of anticompetitive information exchange (AC Nielsen)
Asters
On 31 March 2016, the Kiev Commercial Court of Appeal (the "Court of Appeal") quashed the ruling of the Kiev Commercial Court (the "Lower Court") upholding the decision of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (the "AMC") in the case involving allegations that certain trade chains had (...)

The Finnish Market Court rejects the penalty proposed by the Competition Authority concerning power line matter (Empower)
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA)
Market Court rejects FCCA’s penalty proposal concerning power line matter* The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) had proposed that the Market Court impose a EUR 35 million penalty on Eltel Networks Oy and Eltel Group Oy for unlawful collaboration between competitors in power (...)

The US District Court Southern District of New York confirms that cooperative processes such as setting benchmark interest rates may be subject to antitrust laws (ISDAfix)
Constantine Cannon (New York)
Competitors engaged in cooperative processes find they face competing approaches by Southern District of New York Judges weighing antitrust liability*The scope of antitrust liability for competitors engaged in cooperative processes—such as setting benchmark interest rates—became murkier this week (...)

The Romanian High Court of Cassation confirms irrevocably the infringement of the competition law by a manufacturer of oil and gas by a participation in a cartel (OMV Petrom)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council has irrevocably won the trial with OMV PETROM Marketing* The High Court of Cassation and Justice confirmed irrevocably the infringement of the Competition Law by OMV PETROM MARKETING (at the date of infringement called OMV) by participation in a cartel besides other (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority fines cold-storage firms for cartel (Kloosbeheer)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM imposed fines of EUR 12.5 million on cold-storage firms* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has imposed fines, totaling almost EUR 12.5 million, in three cases on four companies in the cold storage industry (freezing and refrigerated storage). Five executives were (...)

The German Competition Authority fines several companies for cartel in the sanitary sector (Elmer)
German Competition Authority
Bundeskartellamt imposes fines in cartel in sanitary sector* The Bundeskartellamt has imposed fines totalling around 21.3 million euros on nine wholesalers and an individual involved in the sanitary, heating and air conditioning sector on account of concluding anti-competitive agreements. The (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority opens a market inquiry concerning the commitments proposed by a supermarket suspected of resale price maintenance (Dia)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
DIA Portugal offers commitments to the PCA* On 3 April 2014, the Portuguese Competition Authority (PCA) opened proceedings against DIA Portugal Supermercados, Sociedade Unipessoal, Lda. (DIA Portugal), for alleged infringement of national competition rules in the context of the Franchise (...)

The Latvian Competition Council exposes the outcome of its market study and sector inquiry into the dairy market
Competition Council of Latvia
The CC takes a close look at the dairy market* The Competition Council (CC) of Latvia has recently concluded market study and sector inquiry into the dairy market in Latvia. Both researches provided the CC with an in-depth insight into the price changes within all phases of the market, as well (...)

ECJ Advocate General Wathelet concludes that payment of royalties under a licence agreement where the patent was held invalid may be compatible with Article 101 TFEU (Genentech / Hoechst)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 17 March 2016, Advocate General Wathelet issued his opinion on a request for a preliminary ruling from the Paris Court of Appeal, which inquired as to whether Article 101 TFEU precludes a licensee from paying royalties pursuant to a licensing agreement when the patent, which is the subject (...)

The Competition Commission of Singapore extends the scope of the “by object” category of anti-competitive agreements again and fines firms for pressurising competitor to withdraw rebates offered to customers (Avallis)
National University of Singapore
On 17 March 2016, the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) issued an Infringement Decision against 10 undertakings for violating the section 34 prohibition against anti-competitive agreements (the Singapore analogue of Article 101EC). The undertakings (a group of Financial Advisers that (...)

The Italian Council of State refers to the EU Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling in a case regarding an agreement to artificially differentiate competing drugs (Roche / Novartis)
Bonelli Erede Pappalardo (Rome)
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Bonelli Erede Pappalardo (Rome)
By its decision of 11 March 2016 , the Italian Administrative Court of Last Instance (“Council of State”) referred to the European Court of Justice certain preliminary questions raised by Novartis and Roche in the appeals brought against the judgment of the Administrative Court of First Instance, (...)

The District Court of the Hague rules that a trade organization and an individual company infringed the cartel prohibition by foreclosing the use of a tool to determine the age of a purchaser of alcohol or tobacco (HEM / CBL / Jumbo)
Clifford Chance (Amsterdam)
On 9 March 2016, the District Court of The Hague ("Court") ruled that Centraal Bureau Levensmiddelenhandel ("CBL") and various Jumbo entities ("Jumbo") infringed Article 6 of the Dutch Competition Act (the cartel prohibition, hereafter "Mw") and are thus jointly and severally liable for damages (...)

The Brazilian Superior Court of Justice limits the confidentiality of the Competition Authority’s leniency agreements (Εlectrolux)
Mattos Filho Veiga Filho Marrey Jr & Quiroga (New York)
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Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr. & Quiroga (Sao Paulo)
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Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr. & Quiroga (Brasilia)
The Brazilian Superior Court of Justice (“STJ”) has issued a ruling that seeks to limit the confidentiality of leniency agreements entered into with the Brazilian antitrust authority (“CADE”). Pursuant to the ruling, third parties may have access to such agreements and related materials (including (...)

The Romanian High Court of Cassation and Justice reviews the application filed by the Competition Council following the decision of the EU Court of Justice on the anti-competitive object of agreements to share clients (Eureko)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
On 7 September 2010, Consiliul Concurentei din Romania (Romania Competition Council) adopted Decision no 39 which found that 14 of the 18 companies on the mandatory private pension funds market (second pilar) violated Article 5 alin.(1) lit. c) of the Competition Law no 21/1996 and Article 81 (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Croatian Competition Agency accepts commitments proposed by an undertaking suspected to abuse of dominance in the newspapers market (Tisak)
Croatian Competition Agency
Tisak reviews the commission rates in newspapers sales* The Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) accepted the committments of the undertaking Tisak with the view to eliminating possible anticompetitive effects in the commission sales of newspapers in the proceedings that has been carried out by (...)

The UK Competition Authority issues provisional decision on remedies to increase competition in the private healthcare market (HCA)
UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)
CMA’s private healthcare provisional decision on remedies* The CMA has provisionally found that likely changes in London’s private healthcare market mean that extra remedies would not be proportionate. In April 2012, the Competition Commission, a predecessor body of the Competition and Markets (...)

The Chinese Supreme People’s Court dismisses an application to re-try a case in Shaanxi involving taxis and exclusive dealing (Taxi case)
China Competition Bulletin
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China Competition Bulletin
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Hogan Lovells (Beijing)
On 17 March 2016, the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) released its decision to dismiss an application to re-try a case in Shaanxi involving taxis and exclusive dealing. In that case, two private local taxi companies sued three other local taxi companies for exclusive dealing. The SPC made its (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Court confirms the Competition Authority’s decision and prescription in relation to operating systems for smartphones (Yandex / Google)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
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FAS Russia
In March 2016, the Moscow Arbitration Court expressed its support of the position of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) on the case of abuse of dominance by the Google group of companies involving its actions on the Android operation system. The decision of FAS Russia was taken as (...)

The German Competition Authority opens a proceeding against a social network company suspected to have abused of its dominance by infringing data protection rules (Facebook)
German Competition Authority
Bundeskartellamt initiates proceeding against Facebook on suspicion of having abused its market power by infringing data protection rules* The Bundeskartellamt has initiated a proceeding against Facebook Inc., USA, the Irish subsidiary of the company and Facebook Germany GmbH, Hamburg. The (...)

The German Competition Authority initiates proceedings against a social network company regarding potential abuse of dominance (Facebook)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
The German Federal Cartel Office (the FCO) has announced that it has initiated proceedings against Facebook for the company’s alleged abuse of its dominant position in a market for social networks. The FCO appears to be taking the position that, as a firm with a possibly dominant position, (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation pertaining to a joint venture on the market of telecommunication in Italy (Hutchison / VimpelCom)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed Hutchison/VimpelCom joint venture in Italy* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether the proposed joint venture between the telecommunications activities of Hutchison and VimpelCom in Italy is (...)

The German Competition Authority approves a merger between two central banks in the cooperative banking sector (DZ Bank / WGZ Bank)
German Competition Authority
Bundeskartellamt clears merger of the two central banks in the German cooperative banking sector* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared the merger of the two central banks in the German cooperative banking sector, DZ BANK AG (Frankfurt) and WGZ BANK AG (Düsseldorf). The cooperative banks are (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority clears a merger subject to remedies in the market of multiplex cinemas (Kinepolis / Utopolis)
Belgian Competition Authority
The Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has approved with remedies the acquisition by Kinepolis of two of the four multiplex cinemas of Utopolis* The Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority has approved on 25 March 2016 the acquisition by Kinepolis of two of the four Utopolis (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the retail and wholesale fuels markets (Statoil Fuel / Shell)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves Statoil Fuel and Retail’s takeover of Shell’s Dansk Fuels, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Shell’s Danish retail and wholesale fuels business, Dansk Fuels, by Alimentation (...)

The French Competition Authority opens an in-depth investigation regarding a merger on the market of retail of cultural and electronic products (Fnac / Darty)
French Competition Authority
The Autorité de la concurrence is opening a phase 2 examination of the acquisition of the Darty Company by the Fnac Group* On 17 February 2016, the Fnac group notified the Autorité of its proposed acquisition of the Darty company. Under its examination of the case, and following an initial (...)

The Ukrainian Parliament adopts new merger control rules
Asters
On 18 March 2016, a law amending the Ukrainian merger control rules was published. It becomes effective on 18 May 2016 – in 2 months following its publication. I. Key takeaways: Below are the main changes: (i) improvement of notifiability thresholds; (ii) removal of market share-based (35%) (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority approves acquisition subject to remedies in the food retail market (Delhaize / Ahold)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 15 March 2016, the Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) approved the acquisition of Delhaize Group by Ahold, subject to a number of conditions. Delhaize (Belgium) and Ahold (The Netherlands) are two major food retailers active in their home countries as well as in (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority clears a merger, subject to remedies, in the food retail market (Ahold / Delhaize)
Belgian Competition Authority
The Competition College of the BCA has authorised the merger of Ahold and Delhaize with remedies* The Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority has authorised on the 15th of March 2016 the merger of Delhaize SA and Royal Ahold NV with the remedies proposed by the parties. The (...)

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager discusses possible ways in which the EU merger control system could be refined
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a speech delivered in Brussels on 10 March 2016, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager discussed possible ways in which the EU merger control system could be refined. She addressed three main topics. First, Ms Vestager said it should be examined as to whether the EU notification (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger, subject to remedies, in the pharmaceutical market (Allergan Generics / Teva)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Allergan Generics by Teva, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the generics business of Allergan of Ireland, by Teva of Israel, subject to conditions. Both companies (...)

The Indian Government publishes notifications enhancing the existing jurisdictional thresholds in the merger control regime amending the existing exemptions
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (New Delhi)
The Indian merger control regime under the Competition Act, 2002 (Competition Act) has been in force for nearly five years. The provisions of the Competition Act are to be read together with the notifications issued, from time to time, by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India (...)

The Indian government revises the merger control thresholds valid for the period covering 2016 to 2021
Economic Laws Practice
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Economic Laws Practice
Introduction The Government of India, through the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (“MCA”), by way of a notification, has revised the merger control thresholds under the Competition Act, 2002 (“Act”) on March 04, 2016, valid for a period of 5 (five) years, ending on March 04, 2021 (“Notification”). (...)

The German Minister for Economics and Energy conditionally approves a merger in the retail sector despite a previous prohibition decision by the Competition Authority (EDEKA / Tengelmann)
King & Wood Mallesons (Munich)
On 12 January 2016, the German Minister of Economics and Technology (Minister of Economics), Sigmar Gabriel, announced his intention to conditionally approve the proposed merger of retail chains EDEKA and Tengelmann by way of ministerial approval. The ministerial approval is a legal instrument (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission clears a State aid relating to transport of natural gas from Azerbaijan to Italy through the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)
Gerakini Legal Studio
By virtue of decision No.43879 (3rd March 2016), the European Commission granted state aid clearance for the Host Government Agreement between Greece and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) relating to the transport of natural gas from Azerbaijan to Italy, through Greece and Albania. In (...)

Procedures

The Regional Court of Berlin refers the extradition of an Italian citizen from Germany to the United States for cartel charges to the European Court of Justice to rule on whether Member State extradition can violate the principle of non-discrimination under EU law (Romano Pisciotti)
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Munich)
On 18 March 2016, the Regional Court of Berlin (RC Berlin) in Romano Pisciotti v. Federal Republic of Germany referred four questions to the European Court of Justice to seek guidance on whether Mr Pisciotti could argue that he had suffered discrimination and claim compensation from the German (...)

The Chinese competition agencies and the EU Commission hold seminars for the 12th EU-China Competition Policy Week in Beijing
China Competition Bulletin
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China Competition Bulletin
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Hogan Lovells (Beijing)
During the week of 14 March 2016, the Chinese competition agencies and the Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission (DG Comp) held seminars for the 12th EU-China Competition Policy Week in Beijing. On 14–15 March 2016, the NDRC Price Supervision and Anti-Monopoly Bureau (...)

The EU Court of Justice annuls a decision of the Commission requesting information on the ground that the decision did not sufficiently explain why the information requested was necessary (Italmobiliare, Schwenk Zement, HeidelbergCement and Buzzi Unicem)
White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (London)
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White & Case (Brussels)
Introduction On 10 March 2016, the European Court of Justice issued a landmark ruling annulling European Commission decisions requesting information from cement manufacturers, on the ground that the decisions did not sufficiently explain why the information requested was necessary . This (...)

The EU Court of Justice reinforces safeguards concerning EU Commission’s requests for information (Cement Case)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 10 March 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) annulled on appeal a series of European Commission decisions requiring several cement manufacturers to supply information within the context of a cartel probe in the cement sector (the “Contested Decisions”). The ECJ held that the (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority updates its "point system" regarding the quantification of the criteria used in the prioritization of cases investigated
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
Quantification of the criteria used in the prioritization of cases investigated by the Directorate-General for Competition by means of an updated “Point System”* By its unanimous Decision No. 616/2015 (as published in the Official Journal No. 585/ B’/4.3.2016) the Hellenic Competition Commission (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority adopts new leniency guidelines opening door to individual applicants
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
New Belgian Leniency Guidelines Open Door to Individual Applicants* On 1 March 2016, the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) adopted its new Leniency Guidelines (“the 2016 Leniency Guidelines”). The 2016 Leniency Guidelines replace the 2007 Notice of the Competition Council on Immunity from (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority adopts new leniency guidelines
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 1 March 2016, the board of the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) adopted new guidelines concerning the leniency regime under Belgian competition law. These new leniency guidelines re ect a number of developments that have taken place since the adoption of the 2007 guidelines. The BCA had (...)

Regulatory

The Croatian Competition Authority issues an opinion on favourable energy contracts granted solely to members of a professional association (HEP)
Croatian Competition Agency
CCA opinion on favourable energy contracts* The Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) gave its opinion to the request received by the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts regarding the intention of entering into a framework agreement with HEP-Opskrba (HEP Electricity Supplier) on the basis of (...)

The French Competition Authority launches a public consultation in the context of the drafting of an opinion on the freedom of establishment of counsel positions at the French Administrative Supreme Court and French Supreme Court
French Competition Authority
Counsels at the French Administrative Supreme Court (Conseil d’Etat)and the French Supreme Court (Cour de cassation)* In application of the "Macron law", the Autorité de la concurrence is launching a public consultation in the context of the drafting of an opinion on the freedom of (...)

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