May 2011

Anticompetitive practices

The Czech Competition Authority confirms fine imposed on members of a cartel of poultry producers (Poultry cartel)
Kinstellar (Prague)
On 31 May 2011, the Chairman of the Czech Competition Authority (the “Authority”) imposed a fine of CZK 14.237 million (approximately EUR 580,000) on a group of poultry producers for their participation in a price-fixing agreement. The parties involved are AGRO Jevišovice, Zemědělské družstvo (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority establishes the existence of resale price maintenance agreements on the market for fresh fruits and vegetables (Interfruct, Albinuța Shops, Profi Rom Food)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 31 May 2011 the Romanian Competition Authority (CC) held illegal the resale price maintenance clauses contained in the sales contracts concluded by a wholesaler of fresh fruits and vegetables in the municipality of Bucharest (SC Interfruct SRL) with two retailers (SC Albinuța Shops SRL, SC (...)

The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania issues a final judgement after several undertakings were found to have fixed a common tender fee (Association of Event Organizers)
Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (Munchen)
On 27 May 2011 the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania issued a final judgement concerning the decision of the Competition Council in which it was held that the Association of Event Organizers (hereafter: “the Association”) and its members had infringed Article 5 of the Law on Competition (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau seeks to prohibit alleged anticompetitive practices in real estate industry (Toronto Real Estate Board)
Canadian International Joint Commission
Introduction Canada’s Competition Bureau (the "Bureau"), an independent law enforcement agency that assists the Commissioner of Competition (the "Commissioner") in the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act (the "Act"), and the Canadian real estate industry are at odds again. (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission issues cease and desist orders and imposes surcharges on manufacturers and distributors of air separation gases for price-fixing (Taiyo Nippon Sanso)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
Cease and Desist Order and Surcharge Payment Orders against Manufacturers and Distributors of Air Separation Gases* he Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), under the provisions of the Antimonopoly Act (AMA), has investigated companies of manufacturing and distributing air separation gases , and (...)

The Serbian Competition Authority declares illegal a distribution agreement granting a distributor a 2% rebate for compliance with the supplier’s resale price maintenance policy concerning certain branded food products (Grand Prom, Idea)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 26 May 2011 the Serbian Competition Authority (KZK) has declared illegal the distribution agreement between Grand Prom a.d. (supplier) and Idea d.o.o. (distributor) granting to the distributor a 2% rebate for compliance with resale price maintenance policy set by the supplier in relation to (...)

The French Competition Authority contributes to the public consultation launched by the European Commission on private enforcement
French Competition Authority
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Autorité de la concurrence (French National Competition Authority) contributes to the public consultation launched by the European Commission*. Like some other NCAs (national competition authorities) in (...)

The Danish Competition Council holds that customer sharing redistribution of unadressed mail infringe section 6 of the Danish Competition Act and Art. 101 TFEU (Mediabroker, Carat Danmark, Initiative Universal Media and MediaPrint, Danmark)
European Commission
Denmark: Parallel Customer sharing Agreements in Redistribution of Unadressed Mail between Mediacenter Danmark, and Mediabroker, Carat, IUM, and OMD* On 25 May 2011, the Danish Competition Council (DCC) issued a decision concerning four horizontal and separate, yet parallel, customer sharing (...)

The German Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf considers the obligation to pay interests on cartel fines issued by the Federal Cartel Office as violating constitutional law (Zinsverpflichtung)
Dentons (Berlin)
In a decision of 24 May 2011, the Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf („OLG Düsseldorf“) referred the question whether Section 81(6) of the German Act against Restraint of Competition (“ARC”) is in line with the principle of equality as laid down in Article 3 of the German constitution (“GG”) to the (...)

The Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic upholds the annulment judgment delivered by the Regional Court in Bratislava in a potential cartel case (Akcenta case)
Kinstellar (Prague)
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Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) (Slovenia)
The Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic (the “Supreme Court“) has provided that the judgment delivered the Regional Court in Bratislava (the “Regional Court“) annulling the decision adopted by the Slovak Antimonopoly Office ( “SVK AMO“) dealing with an agreement restricting competition in the (...)

The Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic upholds the Regional Court’s judgment which annuled a decision imposing fines on three banks (Banking cartel)
European Commission
Slovakia: Judicial Review of Banking Cartel Case* On 19 May 2011, the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic (the Supreme Court) upheld one of the judgments adopted by Regional Court in Bratislava which annuled the decision of the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic (the Office) imposing (...)

The Danish District Court fines manufacturer of design furniture for engaging in resale price maintenance (Erik Jørgensen Møbelfabrik)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 18 May 2011, the Danish District Court of Svendborg (the “Court”) imposed a fine of DKK 500,000 (approximately € 67,000) on Erik Jørgensen Møbelfabrik A/S (“EJM”), a Danish manufacturer of design furniture, for having engaged in resale price maintenance. The Court also imposed fines totalling DKK (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority states that the rules of the automobile sports federation need to be amended (Automobile sports federation)
European Commission
Sweden: More Competition needed in Organization of Motor Racing Events* ”Holders of a racing or steward licence from the Swedish Automobile Sports Federation should be able to compete or be a steward in races organized by clubs that are not affiliated to the Federation. It is therefore (...)

The Spanish Competition Commission fines the main electricity companies and sectoral association for price fixing and barriers to entry (Electricity Cartel)
European Commission
"Spain: The National Competition Commission (CNC) fines the main Electricity Companies and Sectoral Association"* The CNC has on 13 May 2011 fined the main electricity companies in Spain, as well as the sectoral association, for having fixed prices and agreed on commercial terms and colluded (...)

The Spanish CNC fines five main electricity companies in Spain and industry association for anticompetitive practices extending the application of the "Sham litigation" doctrine (E.On España, UNESA)
Garrigues (Brussels)
The Spanish CNC at the avant-garde of competition enforcement?* In a previous post that appeared on Chillin’Competition we referred to the Spanish Competition Authority’s decision sanctioning the main Spanish electricity companies with fines totaling some 61 million euros as a good illustration (...)

A Moldovan Court of Appeals quashes the concerted practices decision of National Competition Authority for the failure to demonstrate the existence of a price coordination mechanism and the absence of alternative explanations (Lukoil Moldova)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 12 May 2011 the Chișinău Court of Appeals (the CAC) quashed the infringement decision of the Moldovan Competition Authority (ANPC) establishing the existence of the concerted practices on the market for retail trade in oil derivatives. The CAC held that the ANPC failed to prove that seven (...)

The Bulgarian Commission on protection of competition adopts an opinion on draft amendments to the law on electronic communications
European Commission
Bulgaria: The Commission for the Protection of Competition (CPC) welcomes pro-competitive Amendments to Telecommunications Legislation* On 12 May 2011, the Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC) adopted an opinion on draft amendments to the Law on Electronic Communications (LEC). Some (...)

The Italian Competition Authority starts an investigation into an alleged price-fixing practice on the Sardinia-Continental Italy maritime routes (Corsica Sardina Ferries)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
The Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has recently opened an Article 101 TFEU investigation into alleged price-fixing practice that a number of ferry operators would be carrying out on the market for Italy and Sardinia maritime links. The facts of the case Consumer associations and public (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines associations in press clippings sector (Asociación de Editores de Diarios Españoles, Asociación Española de Prensa Gratuita, Asociación Federativa de Empresas de Clipping)
Van Bael & Bellis
The Spanish Competition Authority has recently imposed fines totalling € 335,000 on the Association of Spanish Newspaper Editors (Asociación de Editores de Diarios Españoles- AEDE), the Spanish Free Press Association (Asociación Española de Prensa Gratuita- AEPG) and the Federative Association of (...)

The Hellenic Competition Commission imposes fines for infringements of both Art 101 and 102 TFEU as well as Art 1 and 2 Act 703/1977 through the implementation of exclusionary practices in the market for salty snack products (Tasty Foods)
Bank of Greece
Introduction On 5 May 2010, the Hellenic Competition Commission (Elliniki Epitropi Antagonismou, hereafter: HCC) issued an infringement decision against Tasty Foods, a company that is mainly active in the production and distribution of salty snack products in Greece, for violation of 101 TFEU (...)

The Estonian Supreme Court acquits road constructions cartel participants based on individual exemption (Teedeehitus, Mr. Kaupo Kaljuvee)
COBALT Legal
On 4 May 2011 the Estonian Supreme Court dismissed charges against a road construction company KPK Teedeehitus and its executive Mr. Kaupo Kaljuvee in relation to price coordination, market sharing and information exchange regarding prices in connection with a public procurement for road (...)

The Italian Antitrust Authority starts investigation against publishing company under article 27 section 12 of the Italian consumer code (International Masters Publishers)
Codacons
The Italian Competition Authority (hereinafter ICA), in the decision of 18th March 2010 PS 22364, revealed that International Masters Publisher S.r.l (hereinafter, IMP), had breached articles 21, 22, 24, 25 section d, 26 section f, for unfair practice. Particularly, the practice consisted of: (...)

The Mexican Congress passes a bill of amendments to the Mexican competition law
White & Case (Mexico)
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Rico, Robles, Libenson y Bernal
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White & Case (Mexico)
Between late April 2011 and early May 2011, the Mexican Congress and President Calderón completed the legislative process initiated in April 2010 to pass a bill of amendments to the Mexican Competition Law (the “Reform”). (The Mexican Competition Law was enacted on December 18, 1992 and became (...)

Unilateral Practices

A US Court of Appeals rules for an hospital holding that its campaign to block a potential rival does not violate s. 2 of the Sherman Act and is protected from antitrust liability under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine (Mercatus Group, Lake Forest Hospital)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
First Amendment Rights Provide Antitrust Shield for Successful Petitioning to Block Potential Rival* How far can a competitor go in an effort to convince a local government to block a potential rival from setting up shop in its area without running afoul of the antitrust laws? Last week, the (...)

A US District Court denies a motion to dismiss allegations of a price squeeze implemented through the granting of secret rebates to the plaintiff’s customers on the market for resailing of paper bag products (Western Pacific Kraft / Duro Bag)
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
In Secret Rebate Case, If It Walks Like A Duck, Allegations That It Will Also Quack Are Plausible* On May 24, 2011, United States District Court, Central District of California, denied a motion to dismiss allegations of a "price squeeze" implemented through the granting of secret rebates to (...)

A US district court, relying on ’common sense’, denies a motion to dismiss allegations of a ’price squeeze’ in the paper bags industry (WPK / Duro)
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice (Washington D.C.)
California Court Relies on “Common Sense” in Rejecting Twombley Challenge* Perhaps there is life for conclusory antitrust claims after Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). On May 24, the United States District Court for the Central District of California denied a motion to (...)

ECJ Advocate General Mengozzi issues an opinion on price discrimination and exclusionary abuses of dominance in the bulk mail industry (Post Danmark)
Gatti Pavesi Bianchi
Price discrimination and exclusionary abuses of dominance: A call for effects-based enforcement* It is often said, with good statistical records, that opinions of the Advocate Generals are to a large extent endorsed by the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”). If so, the opinion recently handed (...)

The Italian State Council quashes a decision from the Court of first Instance having annulled an NCA’s decision concerning service of general economic interest and State action defence (COBAT - "Recycling of exhausted batteries”)
Bonelli Erede Pappalardo (Rome)
In its judgment delivered on 2 May 2011, the Italian Last Instance Administrative Court («Consiglio di Stato«), reversed the judgment of the First Instance Administrative Court («TAR Lazio«) on the «recycling of exhausted batteries« case, and upheld the Italian Competition Authority’s («ICA«) (...)

The German Competition Authority orders a producer of laboratory chemicals to cease discriminatory treatment of its customers (Merck)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute
On 19 May 2011, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) found that Merck KGaA (“Merck”) had abused its dominant position in the markets for several laboratory chemical products by discriminating among its customers. According to the FCO, Merck provided more favourable sales conditions to its (...)

The German Competition Authority orders a producer of laboratory chemicals to cease discriminatory treatment of its customers (Merck)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute
On 19 May 2011, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) found that Merck KGaA (“Merck”) had abused its dominant position in the markets for several laboratory chemical products by discriminating among its customers. According to the FCO, Merck provided more favourable sales conditions to its (...)

The German Competition Authority orders a producer of laboratory chemicals to cease discriminatory treatment of its customers (Merck)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute
On 19 May 2011, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) found that Merck KGaA (“Merck”) had abused its dominant position in the markets for several laboratory chemical products by discriminating among its customers. According to the FCO, Merck provided more favourable sales conditions to its (...)

The German Competition Authority orders a producer of laboratory chemicals to cease discriminatory treatment of its customers (Merck)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute
On 19 May 2011, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) found that Merck KGaA (“Merck”) had abused its dominant position in the markets for several laboratory chemical products by discriminating among its customers. According to the FCO, Merck provided more favourable sales conditions to its (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority finds discriminatory pricing practices on the market for jet fuel supplied in Croatian airports (INA – Industrija nafte, Dubrovnik Airline)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 19 May 2011 the Croatian Competition Authority (AZTN) found an exploitative abuse of dominant position in the discriminatory pricing applied by a petroleum company supplying jet fuel to the domestic airline companies. The AZTN‘s investigation was prompted by a complaint lodged in December of (...)

The European Commission publishes commitments offered by a leading financial company (Standard & Poor’s)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute
On 16 May 2011, the Commission published commitments offered by Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) to remedy concerns regarding the pricing of international securities identification numbers (“ISINs”). ISINs are a standardized form of identification of securities which are needed in order to buy or (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority finds excessive tariffs charged by the bus terminal operators for their ticketing services (Auto Terminals and Stations)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 13 May 2011 the Moldovan Competition Authority (ANPC) held that seven private bus terminal operators were imposing economically unjustified (excessive) charges for their ticketing services and thus committed an exploitative abuse of dominant position pursuant to the national equivalent of (...)

The Regional Court in Brno confirms fine imposed on the national railways company for having abused its dominant position on rail freight transport of large-volume substrates market (Czech Railways Company)
European Commission
Czech Republic: The Regional Court in Brno confirms Fine imposed on Czech Railways Company for Abuse of Dominant Position on Rail Freight Transport of large-volume Substrates Market* On 12 May 2011, the Regional Court in Brno (the Court) upheld the CZK 254 000 000 (approximately € 9 585 000) (...)

The Competition Authority of Bosnia & Herzegovina closes its investigation into the alleged predatory pricing practices on the market for TV commercials
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 5 May 2011 the Competition Authority of Bosnia & Herzegovina (KV) rejected an abuse of collective dominance complaint lodged by the public TV operator Radiotelevizija Bosne i Hercegovine (BHTV) against a number of public and private TV companies (Radiotelevizija Federacije BiH (FTV), (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies powers of Competition Authorities enforcing EU competition rules under EC Reg. 1/2003 in a telecom case (Tele2 Polska)
European Commission
European Courts: ECJ clarifies Powers of National Competition Authorities enforcing EU Competition Rules* On 3 May 2011, the Court of Justice of the European Union gave judgment in the Tele2 Polska case concerning the interpretation of Article 5 of Council Regulation (EC) 1/2003. The Court (...)

Mergers

The Turkish Competition Board unconditionally authorizes the acquisition of Italian jeweler and luxury goods retailer by French luxury conglomerate (LVMH/Bulgari)
Erdem & Erdem
The Competition Board (the “Board”) has unconditionally authorized the acquisition of control of Bulgari S.p.A. (“Bulgari”) by LVMH Moét Hennessy - Louis Vuitton (“LVMH”; “Bulgari” and “LVMH” hereinafter referred to as the “Parties”) since the transaction would not result in creating a dominant position or (...)

The German competition authority presents the final results of its inquiry into the fuel sector (Oligopoly of oil companies)
European Commission
Germany: Results of Sector Inquiry into the Fuel Sector* On 26 May 2011, the Bundeskartellamt (BKartA) presented the final results of its inquiry into the fuel sector. The BKartA started the sector inquiry in May 2008 since it suspected competition problems in this sector. Previously, the (...)

The Cyprus Competition Authority accepts a proposed concentration in the market of supply of airport passenger (Swissport Cyprus and Handling)
Neocleous (Nicosia)
Factual Background The Cyprus Commission for the Protection of Competition (CPC) has recently issued its decision regarding the notification of a proposed concentration between Swissport Cyprus Limited and LGS Handling Limited for the creation of a joint venture S & L Airport Services (...)

The EU Commission clears a joint venture in the pharmaceutical sector, after examining possible coordination between Chinese State-owned companies (DSM / Sinochem)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a decision of 19 May 2011, the European Commission unconditionally cleared the creation of a joint venture between Dutch pharmaceutical company DSM and Chinese State-owned conglomerate Sinochem. The joint venture will be active primarily in antibiotics and other anti-infective products. In (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority launches a public consultation on the draft of the merger notification form and on the draft of the informal meetings related to the merger review
European Commission
Hungary: Public Consultation on Review of Merger Control* The Gazdasági Versenyhivatal (GVH - Hungarian Competition Authority) has been consulting the public on the draft Merger Notification Form and on a draft Notice on informal meetings (pre-notification contacts, state of play meetings) (...)

The Brussels Court of Appeal confirms Competition Council’s decision amending condition imposed on cable network operator’s acquisition of pay-TV provider (Telenet / Canal+)
Van Bael & Bellis
In a judgment of 17 May 2011, the Brussels Court of Appeal confirmed the Belgian Competition Council’s decision of 29 November 2010 amending a condition that had been imposed in 2003 on cable network operator Telenet’s acquisition of pay-TV provider Canal+. The condition in question (...)

The US DoJ expresses antitrust concerns on a proposed merger in the equity market sector leading the companies to abandon the deal (Nasdaq OMX, NYSE Nasdaq)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Threat of U.S. Antitrust Challenge Leads Nasdaq to Abandon Pursuit of NYSE* Nasdaq OMX Group, Inc. and IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) have withdrawn their proposal to acquire NYSE Euronext in the face of antitrust objections from the U.S. Department of Justice. The Justice Department issued a (...)

The Indian Competition Commission publishes new rules for mergers review
Linklaters (Brussels)
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Linklaters (Washington)
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Linklaters (London)
After years of debate, the Indian Government recently announced that the Competition Commission of India ("CCI") will be given powers to approve or prohibit certain mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. The new powers take effect on 1 June 2011. This memorandum reflects the key procedural (...)

The German Bundeskartellamt fines an undertaking operating in the metal recycling market for having implemented a concentration without merger approval (Interseroh)
Heinz & Zagrosek (Köln)
The FCO continuously fines merger implementation without prior approval* On May 10, 2011, the FCO fined Interseroh in the amount of €206,000 for having implemented a concentration without merger approval. The decision is the second instance this year in which the FCO imposed a fine for (...)

The US DoJ challenges nonreportable merger in the chicken processing industry consummated during investigation (George’s, Tyson Foods)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
U.S. Challenges Nonreportable Acquisition Consummated During Investigation* Time will tell whether it is a good idea to consummate an acquisition while the Department of Justice Antitrust Division is still investigating. On May 10, the Antitrust Division filed a complaint in the federal (...)

The Serbian Competition Authority starts an in-depth merger investigation after two years from the submission of the initial notification (Holding Sudosteuropa)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 9 May 2011 Serbian Competition Authority (KZK) rejected the appeal of OST Holding Sudosteuropa GmbH(OST) against KZK‘s decision to initiate an in-depth investigation into the OST’s proposed acquisition of indirect control over the Serbian newspaper company Novosti. In its decision KZK (...)

The EU Commission approves the creation of a joint venture between two Brazilian groups that will combine their respective activities in the orange juice sector (Votorantim / Fischer)
"Merger: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2011"* The Commission approved on 4 May 2011 the creation of a joint venture between the Brazilian groups Votorantim and Fischer that will combine their respective activities in the orange juice sector. Votorantim and Fischer, two (...)

The EU Commission clears in phase II the creation of the leading orange juice supplier (Votorantim / Fischer)
European Commission - DG ECFIN
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Votorantim / Fischer / JV Squeezing oranges, not consumers"* Introduction Last year the Commission adopted a decision in what has come to be known as the “orange juice case” , as it dealt with the creation of the leading orange juice supplier to the European market. The Brazilian groups (...)

The European Commission waives commitment imposed on a merger in the DNA probes sector (Hoffmann-La Roche/Boehringer Mannheim)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a recently published decision of 3 May 2011, the European Commission waived certain commitments imposed as a condition of its approval of the acquisition of Boehringer Mannheim by Hoffman-La Roche in February 1998. In the 1998 decision, the Commission found that Hoffman-La Roche’s dominant (...)

The EU Commission unconditionally clears "orange juice" joint venture after second phase investigation (Votorantim / Fischer / JV)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 4 May 2011, following an in-depth second phase investigation, the European Commission unconditionally cleared the creation of a joint venture between Votorantim and Fischer, combining their orange juice businesses. By combining two of the largest orange juice businesses in the world, the (...)

State Aid

The European Commission decides that French bank was not overcompensated for collecting funds to finance social housing (Crédit Mutuel-Livret bleu)
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31  August 2011"* On 24 May 2011, following a formal investigation started in 1998, the Commission decided that Crédit Mutuel was not overcompensated for distribution of the Livret bleu savings account in France. In 1975 France created the (...)

The European Commission finds that the different taxation imposed by the Greek Government for casino entrance fees is unlawful aid (Aid to certain Greek casinos)
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31  August 2011"* Following an in‑depth investigation, on 24 May 2011 the Commission found that the different taxation of casino entrance fees is unlawful aid because it creates fiscal discrimination in favour of public casinos and causes the (...)

The European Commission rules that a French bank was not overcompensated for collecting funds to finance social housing (Crédit Mutuel-Livrets bleu)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Services of general economic interest: Crédit Mutuel decision - not overcompensated* This article concerns the Commission’s assessment of a service of general economic interest (SGEI) in the banking sector, namely the decision closing the formal investigation of Crédit Mutuel‘s Livrets Bleusavings (...)

The European Court of Justice confirms admissibility of action for annulment brought by rival in a purchasing market (Commission v Kronoply and Kronotex)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a Grand Chamber judgment of 24 May 2011, the Court of Justice (“ECJ”) sided with the General Court (“GC”) and confirmed the admissibility of a challenge brought against a Commission decision not to open a formal investigation into a state aid case. At the origin of the case were a number of (...)

The European Commission approves the restructuring plan of the agricultural bank of Greece (ATE)
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31  August 2011"* On 23 May 2011 the Commission approved the restructuring plan of the Agricultural Bank of Greece (ATE), judging it apt to restore the bank’s long‑term viability whilst ensuring it shares the burden of its restructuring and (...)

The EU General Court annuls Commission decision finding illegal state granted by Poland and its failure to recover public debts from ailing company (Buczek Automotive)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 17 May 2011, the General Court (“GC”) ruled against a Commission decision dated 23 October 2007 ordering Poland to recover state aid granted to the Polish steel producer Technologie Buczek(“TB”) from TB‘s subsidiary Buczek Automotive sp. z o.o. (“BA”). Confronted with financial difficulties, TB (...)

The European Commission approves a scheme notified by Germany to grant support for damage caused by natural disasters in the State of Bavaria
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31  August 2011"* On 10 May 2011 the Commission approved a scheme notified by Germany to grant support for damage caused by natural disasters in the Federal State of Bavaria. The aid can be granted over a six‑year timeframe in the form of direct (...)

The European Commission rejects complaints filed by mobile phone operators already active in the French market, as it finds that the procedure for awarding fourth 3G mobile phone licence does not involve any State aid (France – 4th UMTS licence)
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31  August 2011"* On 10 May 2011 the Commission rejected complaints filed by three mobile phone operators already active in the French market, as it found that the procedure for awarding France’s fourth 3G mobile phone licence in 2009 did not (...)

The European Commission decides that the level of fee charged by the French government for spectrum assignment to the 4th mobile operator did not entail any State aid in the meaning of Art. 107(1) TFEU
Université de Namur
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"The Assignment of Spectrum and the EU State Aid Rules: the case of the 4th 3g license assignment in France"* 1. The French 4th mobile communications licence On 5 May 2011, the Commission decided that the level of the fee charged by the French government in 2009 for spectrum assignment to (...)

Procedures

The Bulgarian Competition Authority releases its 2010 annual report
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 31 May 2011 the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) published its 2010 Annual Report. While the 2010 report covers various areas of the CPC‘s activity including prosecution of unfair competition, competition advocacy and international cooperation, present review shall focus exclusively on (...)

A German Court asks the Constitutional Court to review provisions of competition law requiring companies to pay interest accrued to antitrust fines (Gothaer Versicherung)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 30 May 2011, the Higher Regional Court in Düsseldorf asked the Federal Constitutional Court to review the constitutionality of certain procedural provisions of the German Competition Act. The Düsseldorf Court had doubts whether the accretion of interest to antitrust fines was compatible with (...)

The EU Competition Commissioner Almunia proposes changes to the Commission’s procedural practice in antitrust investigations
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 30 May 2011, Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia announced a number of modifications he intends to introduce to the procedural rules governing antitrust proceedings before the Commission. The contemplated modifications concern DG Competition’s procedural Best Practices and the revision of (...)

The French Supreme Court rules that a consumer organisation may not use the Internet to solicit victims of anticompetitive practices with a view to finding claimants for damages actions (UFC Que Choisir)
Vogel & Vogel
UFC Que Choisir had complained of practices between three telephone operators that, in its view, were anticompetitive. Before the ruling against the operators, UFC Que Choisir had set up on its website a mechanism by which those with a grievance could develop their case in an online file. The (...)

The European Commission fines company € 8 M for breaching a Commission seal during an inspection (Suez Environement)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"The Suez Environnement seal case – EUR 8 million fine for breaching a Commission seal during an inspection "* The Suez Environnement seal case – EUR 8 million fine for breaching a Commission seal during an inspection by Céline Gauer, Karine Bansard and Flavien Christ(1) In April 2010 the (...)

The EU General Court rejects veto right for Member States for disclosing information supplied in State aid investigations (Gruppo Tirrenia)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In joined cases T-109/05 and T-444/05, the General Court (“GC”) recently ruled that the Commission had unlawfully refused to grant access to confidential data excluded from the public version of a Commission decision on state aid, and this despite the ulterior annulment of this decision. The (...)

The European Commission fines two leading company in the environment sector € 8 M for breach of a seal during an inspection (Suez Environnement/Lyonnaise des Eaux)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 24 May 2011, the Commission fined Suez Environnement and its subsidiary Lyonnaise des Eaux France (LDE) € 8 million for breach of a seal, affixed by the Commission during an inspection at LDE’s premises following suspicions of anti-competitive behaviour. From 13 to 16 April 2010, the (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority publishes draft guidelines regarding merger control and leniency (Merger control and leniency)
European Commission
Finland: Public Consultation on Guidelines complementing the new Competition Act* On 11 March 2011, the Finnish Parliament approved the new Finnish Competition Act. The Act is expected to enter into force in 2011. The main amendments concern merger control enforcement, procedural rules and (...)

The Serbian Competition Authority revises its fining guidelines
University of Technology (Tallinn)
The current Law on Protection of Competition is applied by the Serbian Competition Authority (KZK ) from 1 November 2009. At the same time it took some time for the Government to adopt the secondary legislation that would regulate in more detail the substantive and procedural aspects of the KZK (...)

The UK Office of Fair Trading announces next steps in its investigation into the market for external audit services (Audit market investigation)
European Commission
United Kingdom: The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) announces next Steps in Audit Market* The OFT has been concerned for some time that the market for external audit services to large firms in the UK is highly concentrated, with substantial barriers to entry and switching. On 17 May 2011, (...)

The French Competition Authority issues guidance on antitrust fines
JPTT & Partners
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White & Case (Paris)
On 16 May 2011, the Autorité de la concurrence, the French competition authority (the Autorité), unveiled its guidelines (the Communiqué) relating to the setting of financial penalties in antitrust cases. The Communiqué promised to herald a new, more sophisticated approach to competition law fines; (...)

The Mexican Congress gives new powers to the Federal Economic Competition Commission
Jones Day (Mexico)
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Jones Day (Mexico)
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Jones Day (Mexico)
The Mexican Congress has given new powers to the country’s antitrust authority, the Federal Economic Competition Commission (the "Commission"). The amendments to the Federal Economic Competition Law (the "Law"), which became effective on 11 May 2011, are designed to strengthen the regulation of (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority releases its 2011 annual report
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 14 May 2012 the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) published its 2011 Annual Report. While the 2011 report covers various areas of the CPC’s activity including prosecution of unfair competition, competition advocacy and international cooperation, present review shall focus exclusively on (...)

A German Court rejects complaint from an association of hearing aid acousticians on a inspection of the German Competition Authority (AOK)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 4 May 2011, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf rejected the complaint of an association of hearing aid acousticians that claimed that the German Cartel Office (FCO) did not have the right, during an inspection at the association’s premises, to request the inspection of documents in (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules that a national competition authority cannot adopt a decision ruling Articles 101 and 102 TFEU inapplicable (Tele2 Polska)
Vogel & Vogel
The number-one Polish telecom operator – former State owned monopoly - was suspected of a violation of Article 8 of the Polish law on competition and consumer protection and of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). At the end of the procedure the Polish (...)

The Memorandum of Understanding on specific economic and competition policy conditionality for granting financial assistance: Portugese point of view
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
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Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
The views expressed here are the authors’ alone. 1. Introduction On May 3rd 2011 the Portuguese Government reached an agreement with the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund regarding a Memorandum of Understanding on specific economic policy (...)

The EU Court of Justice adopts a preliminary ruling in a telecom case depriving Competition Authorities of the power to take negative decisions while enforcing competition rules under EU Reg. 1/2003 (Tele2 Polska)
Liege Competition and Innovation Institute
The Perverse Effects of the Court’s Ruling in Tele2 Polska* In its recent Tele2 Polska ruling, the Court deprived the National Competition Authorities "NCAs" of the ability to take "negative decisions" (C-375/09, Prezes Urzędu Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentów contre Tele2 Polska sp. z o.o., 3 (...)

The German Competition authority enters final phase of its inquiry into milk sector (Inquiry into milk sector)
European Commission
Germany: Bundeskartellamt (BKartA) enters final Phase of its Inquiry into Milk Sector* Having adopted an interim report in 2009 and concluded several merger and antitrust cases in the milk sector the BKartA intends to conclude its sector inquiry by the first quarter of 2012. The final report (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority starts an investigation into the structure of the mortgage market and the pricing behaviour of mortgage lenders (Mortgage Market)
European Commission
The Netherlands: Sector Inquiry into Mortgage Market shows Decline in Margins back to pre- financial Crisis Level* In August 2010, the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) started an investigation into the structure of the Dutch mortgage market and the pricing behaviour of mortgage lenders. (...)

The Memorandum of Understanding on specific economic and competition policy conditionality for granting financial assistance: Irish point of view
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission of Ireland
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The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission of Ireland
1. Introduction Ireland has endured a dramatic reversal of fortune since the onset of the financial crisis. Up until a few years ago the fastest growing economy in Europe, Ireland finds itself excluded from the bond market and wholly dependent on external assistance from the IMF and its EU (...)

Regulatory

The Moldovan Agency for Energy Regulation releases the petroleum market study for the first quarter of 2011
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 17 May 2011 the National Agency for Energy Regulation (ANRE) released the results of the periodical sector inquiry into the markets for import, wholesale and retail distribution of petroleum products during the first quarter of 2011. The markets for wholesale and retail trade in petroleum (...)

The Romanian Competition Council publishes its report on the inquiry into the wholesale market of pharmaceuticals (Wholesale market of pharmaceuticals)
European Commission
Romania: Sector Inquiry Report on the Wholesale of Pharmaceuticals* In May 2011, the Romanian Competition Council (the RCC) published its report on the inquiry into the wholesale market of pharmaceuticals. The RCC opened the sector inquiry into the wholesale market of pharmaceuticals as a (...)

The French NCA issues an interim measures decision which orders the incumbent postal operator to confirm the suspension of its agreement with its biggest competitor (La Poste, Mondial Relay)
European Commission
France: The Autorité de la concurrence issues Interim Measures Decision in the Parcel Delivery Sector to confirm the Suspension of Horizontal Agreement between La Poste and its biggest Competitor* On 12 May 2011, the Autorité de la concurrence (the Autorité) issued an interim measures decision (...)

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