October 2004

Anticompetitive practices

The Finish Competition Authority proposes to Market Court to impose fines on companies members of a cartel in the asphalt sector
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
The Finnish Competition Authority (“FCA”) concluded that seven asphalt companies and the Finnish Asphalt Association had violated Finnish competition law through engaging in cartel activity. The FCA stated, before proposing to the Finnish Market Court that it impose fines on these companies and (...)

The European Commission fines three companies and their subsidiaries active in the needles industry for entering anticompetitive bilateral and tripartite market sharing agreement (William Prym, Prym Consumer, Coats Holdings, J & P Coats and Entaco Group)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"The needles case: how to find within a complex scheme of bilateral agreements, a tripartite market sharing agreement"* Introduction The conduct in question, subject of the Commission decision adopted on 26 October 2004, consisted of a series of formally bilateral agreements that amounted to (...)

La "High Court" irlandaise condamne pour entente et abus de position dominante, sur le double fondement des dispositions internes et communautaires de concurrence, le fonds de garantie mis en place par l’association irlandaise des coopératives de crédit et d’épargne (John O’Regan, ILCU)
London School of Economics
L’ILCU, créée en 1960, est une association qui représente les intérêts des Credits Unions (coopératives de crédit et d’épargne) dans la République d’Irlande et en Irlande du Nord. En 1989, elle a mis sur pied un fonds de garantie (ci-après, “SPS”) au profit de ses membres. Le règlement de l’ILCU précise (...)

The European Commission fines companies for colluding on raw tobacco prices in Spain (Compañía española de tabaco en rama, Agroexpansion, World Wide Tobacco España, Tabacos españoles, Deltafina)
EU Delegation to the Republic of South Africa
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - Joint Research Center
"Commission fines companies for colluding on raw tobacco prices in Spain"* On 20th October 2004, the European Commission adopted a prohibition decision imposing a total fine of € 20 million to five companies active in the raw tobacco processing market for colluding on the prices paid to and the (...)

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion on the state of competition in the non-specialist large-scale retail sector (UFC Que Choisir)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Rise in "back margins" paid to large-scale retailers, inflation and competition: In an opinion handed down to the consumers association UFC-Que Choisir on 18th October 2004, the Conseil de la concurrence (...)

L’autorité de concurrence finlandaise condamne l’Ordre des architectes pour avoir édicté un règlement professionnel restrictif de concurrence (Finnish Association of Architects, SAFA)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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Université Catholique de Louvain
Fin 2004, l’autorité de concurrence finlandaise a condamné, sur le fondement de l’article 4 de la loi relative au droit de la concurrence, l’Ordre des architectes (“SAFA”) pour avoir édicté un règlement professionnel restrictif de concurrence. Selon ce règlement, si un maître d’ouvrage désirait faire (...)

Unilateral Practices

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion on the conditions in which the telecommunication incumbent exercises its access operation activity on the one hand, and its telecoms system installation and maintenance activity on the other hand (France Télécom)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Integration of Cofratel into France Télécom - In response to a request for opinion by the FICOME, the Conseil recommends unbundled accounts and information.* The FICOME’s request On 3rd March 2004, the Conseil (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority proposes to the Market Court to impose a € 1 M fine to a telephone company for abuse of dominant position on the ADSL market consisting in refusal to grant access to its regional network on competitive conditions (Lännen Puhelin)
Université Catholique de Louvain
In a decision of 25 October 2004, the Finnish Competition Authority (hereafter FCA) proposed to the Market Court to impose a fine of one million euros on a regional telephone company (Lännen Puhelin). According to the FCA, Lännen Puhelin had abused its dominant position. Indeed, between the 1st (...)

The European Commission adopts a decision based on Article 86 regarding certain provisions of Germany’s postal regulatory framework which bar commercial mail preparation firms from earning discounts for handing over presorted letter at incumbent’s sorting centers (Deutche Post. BdKEP)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"The BdKEP decision: the application of competition law to the partially liberalised postal sector"* 1. Introduction On 20 October 2004, the Commission adopted a decision based on Article 86 regarding certain provisions of Germany’s postal regulatory framework which bar commercial mail (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission issues its recommendations against two companies to prevent the violation of Antimonopoly Act in the field of music broadcasting to the service stores (Usen and Nippon Network Vision)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
Recommendations to Usen Corperation and Nippon Network Vision Corperation* The Fair Trade Commission has investigated two companies, namely, Usen Corporation and Nippon Network Vision Corporation (hereinafter referred to as “the Two Companies”) based on the provisions of the Antimonopoly Act. (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice decides that in assessing the effects of a joint venture under German competition law, the relevant geographic market may be broader than Germany as a whole and may encompass European territories outside Germany (Melitta)
Jones Day (Frankfurt)
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LafargeHolcim
The Federal Court of Justice decided that in assessing the effects of a joint venture under German competition law, the relevant geographic market may be broader than Germany as a whole and may encompass European territories outside Germany. The Court overruled its established case law pursuant (...)

Mergers

The French Administrative Supreme Court upholds a merger conditionally cleared in the audiovisual sector (Sociétés TF1 et AB/TMC)
Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) (Luxembourg)
The operation By a decision dated 27 October 2004, the French Minister of Economy (the “Minister”) authorised the joint acquisition of Télé Monte-Carlo (a Monaco based TV channel called “TMC”) in a Phase I procedure by the TV channels TF1 and AB. Both parties were mainly active in the (...)

The European Commission approves, subject to divestiture, a merger between two rubber companies mainly serving automotive industry (Phoenix/Continental)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Merger control: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2004"* The acquisition of Phoenix AG (Hamburg) by the German undertaking Continental AG involved two rubber companies which mainly serve the automotive industry. The transaction was approved subject to divestiture (...)

The European Commission approves a merger between competitors in software applications for businesses (Oracle Corp/PeopleSoft)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Merger control: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2004"* The Commission approved Oracle Corp’s acquisition of PeopleSoft Inc. The two companies are rival makers of software applications for businesses. After a detailed investigation, the Commission concluded that there was (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority cleared with remedies a merger in the funeral services market but the Council of Ministries partly alleviated remedies proposed (INTUR/Euro Stewart España)
RBB Economics
The operation The operation consisted on the acquisition of Euro Stewart España (ESE) by Inversiones Técnicas Urbanas (INTUR). The contract between the parties included an ancillary restraint, whereby the selling party committed not to compete, nor to licence its commercial brands, in the (...)

The French Minister of Economy grants phase one clearance to a share acquisition in the enterprise resource planning software solutions sector irrespective of the huge barriers to entry that characterize the relevant market (CEGID/CCMX Holding)
PagesJaunes
On September 14, 2004, the acquisition of 100% of the shares of CCMX Holding (“CCMX”) by Cegid SA (“Cegid”) thereby conferring Cegid sole control of CCMX, was notified to the French Minister of Economy (the “Minister”). Both parties were active in the design, development and marketing of ERP software (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority cleared a merger in the dairy products market with behavioural remedies (Valio/Milka)
Grant Thornton (Helsinki)
The operation On 8 October 2004 the Finnish Competition Authority cleared, in a Phase II decision, a merger in the dairy products market in which Valio Oy bought Milka’s cheese business in Vöyri. The parties also entered into a raw milk procurement contract for the sale to Valio of the raw milk (...)

The EU Commission conditionally clears a merger in the uranium enrichment services industry (AREVA / ETC)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Merger control: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2004"* AREVA, the French nuclear group, and Urenco, a company set up by the governments of the UK, the Netherlands and Germany are the main European providers of uranium enrichment services which are needed to produce fuel (...)

The EU Commission approves, subject to divestiture, the creation of a joint venture in the coreboard and cores industry (Sonoco / Ahlstrom)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Merger control: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2004"* In May 2004, the Commission received a notification of a proposed concentration by which two major players of the coreboard and cores industry, Sonoco (USA) and Ahlstrom (Finland), intended to create a joint venture (...)

The Norwegian Competition Authority approved, subject to the divestment of business units in three specific cities, a consolidation in the wholesaling of water, sanitation, electrical and oil and gas products used in industrial, public and private installations (Ahlsell Holding / Bergen Rørhandel & Stavanger Rørhandel)
Ernst & Young
The operation Ahlsell Holding AB acquired 100% of the shares in each of AS Bergen Rørhandel and AS Stavanger Rørhandel on 4 July 2004. The Norwegian Competition Authority (NCA) was notified of the merger on 7 July 2004. Ahlsell is a wholesaler which distributes products for water supply, (...)

State Aid

The European Commission orders Germany to recover more than €3 billion, plus interest, from public banks (WestLB)
DG REGIO Regional and urban policy
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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DG REGIO Regional and urban policy
"German Landesbanken: Recovery of more than €3 billion, plus interest, from WestLB and six other public banks"* On 20 October 2004, the European Commission concluded its long-standing investigation of the transfer of public assets, in the 1990s, to seven German public banks (Landesbanken) by (...)

The European Commission authorizes the Flemish region to participate in the capital increase for the R&D of a company (OCAS)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Flemish region authorized to participate in the capital increase of the R&D company OCAS"* On 20 October 2004, the Commission authorized the region of Flanders, Belgium, to participate to the capital increase of O.C.A.S, whose initials stands in Dutch for Research Centre for the (...)

A French Court orders the Ministry of Culture to recover unnotified State aids having found no relevant public service obligations (CELF I)
Schmitt Avocats
By decision of 5 October 2004, the Administrative Court of Appeal of Paris applied Article 93(3) EC Treaty (today Article 88 EC) and ordered the reimbursement of aids paid without beforehand notification to the European Commission. The French Court also applied the principles and criteria set (...)

Procedures

Le Ministre belge de l’Economie présente le projet de modernisation du droit belge de la concurrence
BDGS Associés (Paris)
Cet article est antérieure à la réforme adoptée. Sur celle-ci, voir: Geert A. Zonnekeyn, Dominique Smeets, Réforme du droit belge de la concurrence : Nouveau départ ou opportunité manquée ?, Concurrences, N° 1-2007, n°13158, pp. 178-194 Le droit belge de la concurrence repose essentiellement sur la loi (...)

The Austrian Supreme Court deals for the first time on damage claims based on violations of EC competition law ("Photocopying machines")
Reidlinger Schatzmann Rechtsanwälte
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Bpv Hügel (Vienna)
This is the first published judgment in which the Austrian courts deal with damage claims based on violations of EC competition law. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s decision is quite cryptic and does not reveal much of its approach to damages actions. The subject-matter of the case is well (...)

Regulatory

The European Commission requests the Austrian Telecommunications Regulatory Authority to withdraw its draft regulatory measure concerning the market for transit services in the fixed public telephone network in Austria (Telekom Austria)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (Brussels)
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"Two recent veto decisions under the new Regulatory framework for electronic communications: The importance of competition law principles in market analysis"* 1. Introduction In October 2004, the Commission exercised its socalled ‘veto power’ under Article 7 of the Directive on a common (...)

The European Commission adopts a veto decision requiring the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority to withdraw its draft regulatory measure concerning the market for access and call origination on public mobile telephone networks in Finland (TeliaSonera)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (Brussels)
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"Two recent veto decisions under the new Regulatory framework for electronic communications: The importance of competition law principles in market analysis"* 1. Introduction In October 2004, the Commission exercised its socalled ‘veto power’ under Article 7 of the Directive on a common (...)

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