Exchange of information in associations of undertakings

Anticompetitive practices

The OECD holds a workshop to address algorithms and collusion issues
Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
OECD workshop addresses algorithms and collusion issues* On June 21-23, the OECD held a roundtable on the theme of “Algorithms and Collusion,” as part of a wider work stream on competition in the digital economy. The OECD roundtable reflects a shift in the debate over the antitrust implications (...)

The European Commission appeals a Belgian Court’s judgement in a cartel damages case (Otis, KONE, Schindler, ThyssenKrupp)
Hausfeld (London)
European Commission’s damages litigation illustrates challenges in domestic regimes pre-implementation of the Damages Directive* In January 2015 the European Commission announced its intention to appeal a judgment of the Belgian Commercial Court which dismissed the Commission’s claim for €6 (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority accepts remedies proposed by steel producers regarding exchange of information in the context of their trade association (Sidenor)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
The HCC accepts commitments by steel producers regarding the exchange of information in the context of their trade association, while further rejecting complaints about other alleged infringements in the markets for the production, distribution and accreditation of steel products* The HCC (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses the appeal against a judgment of the General Court upholding cartel facilitator liability (AC-Treuhand)
Garrigues (Brussels)
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Garrigues (Brussels)
You may remember that earlier this year we commented on AG Wahl’s Opinion in AC-Treuhand (C-194/14 P) and anticipated that, in spite of its thought provoking reasoning, it was likely not to be followed by the Court. Well, the ECJ’s Judgment was released on Thursday, and, as expected, the General (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms that consulting firms may be held liable and fined for cartel facilitation (AC‑Treuhand)
Wiggin (London)
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Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (Brussels)
,
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (Brussels)
The Court of Justice has confirmed that consultancy firms may be held liable and fined for cartel infringements where they contribute to the implementation and continuation of cartels even if they are not active on the affected market(s). Background In 2009, the Commission fined a number of (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses the appeal against a judgment of the General Court upholding cartel facilitator liability (AC-Treuhand)
Altius (Brussels)
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Liège University - IEJE
I. The Parties AC Treuhand AG, the applicant, is a consultancy firm which is based in Zurich (Switzerland) and provides a range of international focused services, like business management and administration, assessment of market data, presentation of market statistics, etc. The European (...)

The EU Court of Justice holds that the liability of a cartel facilitator was foreseeable (AC-Treuhand)
University of Groningen
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University of Groningen
The shortest competition judgment ever: AC-Treuhand II* Competition law judgments are notorious for their length. An extreme example is the 5134 paragraph judgment in Cement. In most cases the appeal judgment is significantly shorter, as with the 391 paragraphs in the appeal in Cement. (...)

The EU Court of Justice upholds cartel facilitator liability (AC-Treuhand)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
In brief AC-Treuhand has failed in its attempt to have two fines overturned for facilitating the heat stabilisers cartel. The case confirms that servicing a cartel by organising and participating in meetings, collecting and supplying to producers data on relevant markets and offering to (...)

The EU Court of Justice upholds cartel facilitator liability (AC-Treuhand)
Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
Introduction On October 22, 2015, the European Court of Justice (the ECJ) published a landmark decision upholding the Commission’s imposition of fines on a consultancy, AC-Treuhand AG (AC-Treuhand), for participation in two cartels between 1993 and 2000. AC-Treuhand argued that, as a (...)

The EU Court of Justice upholds a cartel decision of the Commission on heat stabilisers market (AC-Treuhand)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission welcomes Court judgment confirming cartel facilitator’s liability* The European Commission welcomes today’s ruling by the EU Court of Justice upholding an earlier General Court judgment and thereby a Commission decision of 2009 to hold AC Treuhand liable under EU antitrust (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines an association of undertakings for anti-competitive information exchange and pricing agreements (Consultant Eye Surgeon Partnership)
Stephenson Harwood (London)
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UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)
I. Background On 26 May 2013, the UK Competition Authority (the OFT at the time), received a complaint alleging concerns that Consultant Eye Surgeon Limited Liability Partnerships (“LLPs”), via their membership association CESP Limited (“CESP Ltd”), were agreeing prices and sharing prices and (...)

The EU Court of Justice decides that the General Court was correct in finding that the exchange of pre-pricing information was a restriction of competition by object under Art. 101 TFEU (Dole)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
Appeal in banana cartel results in confirmation that the analysis of bilateral information exchange as an object infringement by Commission and General Court was correct. In Brief In its judgment on 19 March 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) concluded that Dole’s appeal (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines exchange of strategic information in the dairy industry (Danone / Lactalis Iberia / Nestlé)
European Commission
CNMC Imposes Fines of € 88 000 000 in Dairy Industry* On 3 March 2015, the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC) fined nine companies and two sectoral associations that operate in the raw cow’s milk supply market in Spain a total amount of € 88.2 million for a breach of Article (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms the ruling of the General Court on multilateral interchange fees (MasterCard)
Studio Legale Scoccini E Associati
On September 11, 2014 the Court of Justice handed down its judgment in the multilateral interchange fees (MIFs) case dismissing MasterCard’s final appeal against the European Commission’s decision that ordered MasterCard to withdraw its MIFs. Interchange fees are balancing payments made by the (...)

The EU Court of Justice provides further clarity on when an agreement has the object of restricting competition (Groupement des cartes bancaires)
St John’s Chambers
Restrictions by object: duck and elephant hunting with the Court of Justice* Inductive reasoning is sometimes explained by using either the ‘duck test’ (“if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck”) or the ‘elephant test’ (“it is difficult to (...)

The EU Court of Justice invites to rethink the approach to pay for delay settlements in its recent case law (Groupement des Cartes Bancaires)
University of East Anglia - CCP
European Pharmaceutical Antitrust after Groupment des Cartes Bancaires – Time to Rethink the Approach to Pay For Delay Settlements?* Over the last year the European Commission has stepped up its enforcement efforts against pay for delay settlements. In June 2013 they imposed a fine for the (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Council closes an investigation on the suspected anti-competitive agreement between the members of the national guild of breweries
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
Competition council closes investigation on suspected anti-competitive agreement between brewers* On December 23 The Competition Council (the Council) closed an investigation on the suspected anti-competitive agreement between the members of the Lithuanian Guild of Breweries. According to the (...)

The Danish Competition Council accepts commitments concerning exchange of information that might facilitate anticompetitive practices in the constructions sector
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Competition Council accepts commitments from The Danish Construction Association regarding exchange of information agreement* On 18 December 2013 the Danish Competition Council (DCC) accepted commitments from the Danish Construction Association regarding concerns that an exchange of (...)

The EU General Court reduces fine imposed on each undertaking in a case involving market sharing in the energy sector (GDF Suez / E.ON)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 29 June 2012, the EU’s General Court (“GC”) handed down its judgments on appeals brought by E.ON and GDF Suez against a Commission decision fining them for their involvement in a market-sharing agreement. In its judgments, the GC confirmed the previous Commission decision, but reduced the (...)

The EU General Court rules on multilateral interchange fees going through the intricacies of art. 101(3) (MasterCard)
Garrigues (Brussels)
Case T-111/08, Mastercard. A priceless Art. 101(3) assessment* A while ago we wrote a post on The Slow Death of Article 101(3) TFEU, where we said that in recent European Commission, practice, only once the challenged agreement was not deemed to be a restriction by “object”, and that only in (...)

The EU General Court fully upholds the Commission’s decision on multilateral interchange fees (MasterCard)
European Commission
European Courts: Judgment in MasterCard Case upholds Commission’s Decision* In its judgment of 24 May 2012 in case T-111/08, the General Court (the Court) fully upheld the Commission’s decision prohibiting MasterCard’s multilateral interchange fees (MIFs) that apply to cross-border transactions (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority finds anti-competitive practices in the market for office supplies (Association of office supplies retailers)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 21 July 2011 the Croatian Competition Authority (AZTN) established that the Association of office supplies retailers (TUM) and its nine members have infringed the national equivalent of Article 101 TFEU by concluding an informal agreement, which included inter alia market sharing and (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines an association in the canned food industry for implementing a collective recommendation of prices for the sector (ANFACO, Conserveras)
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
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Linklaters (Madrid)
On 31 March 2010, the Council of the Spanish Competition Commission (hereinafter “the Council”, “the NCC”) imposed a fine of € 100,000 on the Natonal Canned Food Association (“Asociación Nacional de Fabricantes de Conservas y Mariscos”) (“ANFACO”, “the Association”) for implementing a collective (...)

The Italian competition Authority detects and punishes a cartel between cosmetics and drugs producers aimed at fixing the retail products prices and at weakening the market power of distributors
University of Bologna
The Italian Competition Authority (hereafter Agcm) has fined 16 producers of cosmetics, drugs and soaps a total of € 81.181.335 for operating a complex price-fixing cartel having as its object the restriction of competition which harmed Italian consumers of cosmetics, drugs and soaps for seven (...)

The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court upholds the decision of the competition authority establishing the existence of a cartel on the market for poultry meat and eggs (Bulgarian Poultry Breeders Union)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 15 September 2010 the Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) upheld the decision of the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) establishing that the members of the Bulgarian Poultry Breeders Union (SPB) have infringed the national equivalent of Article 101 TFEU by coordinating prices (...)

The Danish Supreme Court enhances fines in case involving anticompetitive practices in the Christmas tree industry (Prosecutor/Dansk Juletræsdyrkerforening)
Lexxion Publisher
On 30 August 2010 the Danish Supreme Court (Højesteret) handed down a judgment in the case of the Public Prosecutor vs. Dansk Juletraesdyrkerforening (Danish Christmas tree Growers Association) in a case regarding anticompetitive practices (price recommendations). Only the question of the amount (...)

The Danish Supreme Court enhances fines in case involving anticompetitive practices in the bus transport industry (Danske Busvognmænd)
Lexxion Publisher
On 30 August 2010 the Danish Supreme Court (Højesteret) handed down a judgment in the case of the Public Prosecutor vs. Danske Busvognmaend (Danish Bus Operators) in a case regarding anticompetitive practices. Only the question of the amount of the fine was at issue before the Danish Supreme (...)

The Spanish National Competition Authority imposes fines to eight wine cellars for their participation in a cartel concerning sherry wine and also condemns the Regulating Council of the name of origin of sherry wine for its role as a facilitator (Vinos Finos de Jerez)
University College London
Introduction The Spanish National Competition Authority imposed a 10% turnover fine on Sherry wine producers for establishing coordinated conducts that restricted the wine offer as well as for price fixing. At a first stage, only the Regulating Council of the Name of Origin of Sherry Wine was (...)

The Lisbon Trade Court dismisses the appeal of the Portuguese Competition Authority’s infringement decision regarding an association of undertakings for exchanging information with its members on bread consumer prices (Lisbon Breadmakers’ Association)
Samsung (Portugal)
On 25 June 2010, the Tribunal de Comércio de Lisboa (Lisbon Trade Court) dismissed the appeal against the Autoridade da Concorrência’s (Portuguese Competition Authority) infringement decision regarding the Associação dos Industriais de Panificação de Lisboa (Lisbon Breadmakers’ Association - the (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority fines € 90.000 a professional association for setting and disseminating recommended prices for construction services (Bulgarian Construction Chambers)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 4 May 2010 the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) concluded its investigation into the existence of anticompetitive practices on the national market for construction services and prosecuted the Bulgarian Construction Chamber (KSB) for the infringement of national equivalent of Article (...)

The Danish Competition Council adopts commitment decision to prevent exchange of cost information between industrial laundries (Textile Services Association)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
On 25 November 2009, the Danish Competition Council adopted a commitment decision, cf. Section 16 a of the Danish Competition Act, whereby the Textile Services Association undertook to cease the exchange of a cost index for industrial laundries and to disband the association’s cost-index (...)

The Italian Competition Authority launches an investigation into possible anticompetitive agreements involving a trade association and international freight forwarders (Fedespedi)
European Commission
Italy: Antitrust Authority launched an Investigation into possible Agreements restricting Competition involving the Fedespedi Trade Association and 20 international Freight Forwarders On 18 November 2009, the Italian Competition Authority launched an investigation to ascertain the existence of (...)

The EU Commission fines cartellists in a plastic additives sector highlighting the risk of "facilitating" cartel participation (AC-Treuhand)
Morgan Lewis (London)
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Jones Day (London)
On 11 November 2009, the European Commission (the « Commission ») fined 24 companies a total of € 173 million for operating cartel arrangements in the plastic additive sector. The companies fixed prices, shared customers, allocated markets, and exchanged sensitive commercial information for tin (...)

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 Italian Competition Authority sanctions a cartel of 26 pasta producers and professional associations on the basis of Art. 81.1 EC (Listino prezzi della pasta)
On 25 February 2009 the Authority ascertained two price-fixing cartels in the Italian market of durum semolina pasta and fined 26 pasta producers (Amato, Barilla, Colussi, De Cecco, Divella, Garofalo, Nestlé, Rummo, Zara, Berruto, Delverde, Granoro, Riscossa, Tandoi, Cellino, Chirico, De (...)

The Italian Competition Authority inflicts a fine on pasta manufacturers and related industry associations for having entered into an illicit pricing cartel in breach of Art. 81 of the EC Treaty (Listino prezzi della pasta)
Bonelli Erede Pappalardo (Rome)
By its Decision delivered on 25 February 2009, the Italian Competition Authority (the “ICA”) closed the investigation that had been initiated at the end of 2007 against 29 pasta manufacturers and two Italian industry associations, i.e. UNIPI - Unione Industriale Pastai Italiani (The Italian Pasta (...)

The Danish Competition Council finds that a transporters association violated Danish competition law by distributing certain information to its members (Dansk Transport og Logistik)
Kromann Reumert (Copenhagen)
On 17 December 2008 the Danish Competition Council found that Dansk Transport og Logistik’s distribution of certain information to its members amounted to an infringement “by object” of Danish competition law . The information concerned included: (1) several cost calculation programmes, of which (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority fines a professional association for exchanging information on bread consumer prices (Lisbon Breadmakers’ Association)
Samsung (Portugal)
According to the Notice published by the Portuguese Competition Authority - Autoridade da Concorrência - on 16 December 2008, said entity issued an infringement decision regarding the Lisbon Breadmakers’ Association - Associação dos Industriais de Panificação de Lisboa for failure to comply with (...)

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

The Belgian Competition Council fines EUR 29,000 a professional association for the publication of a price index (VEBIC)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Introduction On 25 of January 2008, the Belgian Competition Council fined the Flemish Association of Bakeries (hereafter “VEBIC”) € 29,000 for the publication of a bread price index and a cost scheme in violation to article 2 paragraph 1 of the new WBEM . The Competition Council argues that by (...)

The Belgian Competition Council issues first fine under the 2006 Competition Act for recommended prices (VEBIC)
Sheppard Mullin (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Amsterdam)
The Belgian Competition Council has fined Vebic Euro 29,121 for an infringement of Article 2 of the Belgian Competition Act, the Belgian equivalent of Article 81 EC. The association (whose members are producers and retailers of bakery products) was condemned by the Competition Council for (...)

The Hungarian Competition Office fines a cartel in the agricultural sector in spite of intensive involvement of the State (Egg Cartel)
Oppenheim
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Oppenheim - Budapest
The HCO initiated proceedings against the Hungarian Association of Egg Producers (HAEP) and some of its members in 2005 in order to verify whether the HAEP and its members breached the cartel prohibition contained in Article 11 of the Hungarian Competition Act (HCA) and Article 81 of the EC (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal confirms the NCA’s decision sanctioning hotels for operating an illegal cartel by exchanging confidential commercial information (Parisian palaces)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Paris)
,
Japan Tobacco International (Boulogne-Billancourt)
In a decision dated 26 September 2006, the Paris Court of Appeal (the Court) confirmed in all respects the Competition Council’s decision of 25 November 2005, imposing heavy fines totalling nearly €710,000 on six Parisian palace hotels, for exchanging confidential commercial information about (...)

The Spanish Competition Court fines an association of travel agencies and the major national airlines for collusive agreements aimed at fixing the fees charged for the emission of airplane tickets (Agencias de viaje)
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
In January 2004, the Spanish press released details regarding a series of agreements between the Spanish travel agencies, represented by the Cúpula Asociativa de Agencias de Viaje Españolas (hereinafter,"CAAVE"), and the three major Spanish airlines, - Iberia, Spanair and Air Europa (hereinafter, (...)

The Spanish NCA fines the main association of film distributors € 900,000 for exchange of sensitive information - Hollywood majors’ subsidiaries in Spain are moreover fined € 2,400,000 for concerted practices in the distribution of films (Distribuidores Cine-FEECE)
London School of Economics
The Federación de Empresarios de Cine de España (hereinafter, “FEECE”) is an association of Spanish film exhibitors. In 2003, the FEECE brought a complaint before the Servicio de Defensa de la Competencia (“SD”) against the Spanish subsidiaries of Hollywood majors’ film distributors for (...)

The French Competition Authority sanctions six building and civil engineering companies for having entered into a complex and continuous agreement during the awarding of public roadworks contracts (Roadworks in the Seine-Maritime département)
French Competition Authority
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Roadworks in the Seine-Maritime département: The Conseil de la concurrence imposes fines totalling 33.6 million Euros on six building and civil engineering companies specializing in the supply of bituminous (...)

The French Competition Authority sanctions six luxury hotels for having exchanged confidential commercial informations (Parisian palaces)
French Competition Authority
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Conseil de la concurrence imposes penalties on the Bristol, the Crillon, the George V, the Meurice, the Plazza Athénée and the Ritz, for exchanging confidential commercial information.* In the light of a (...)

The French Competition Authority sanctions 11 building and civil engineering companies for having entered into an anticompetitive agreement (Public works in the Meuse département)
French Competition Authority
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Public works in the Meuse département: The Conseil de la concurrence finds 11 building and civil engineering companies guilty of entering into an anticompetitive agreement and imposes fines totalling 7 million (...)

The French Competition Authority sanctions 21 building and civil engineering companies for having entered into an anticompetitive agreement during the awarding of contracts to construct civil engineering structures on the A84 motorway (Estuaries Road)
French Competition Authority
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The A84 motorway, known as the "Estuaries Road": The Conseil de la concurrence finds 21 building and civil engineering companies guilty of entering into an anticompetitive agreement and imposes fines totalling (...)

An Italian Court states that the information exchange organised among insurance companies has no effect on competition (San Paolo IMI Wealth Management)
Studio Legale DDPV
The Italian national jurisdiction (Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale del Lazio - the “TAR”) annuled a decision of the Italian national competition authority (the “Authority”) concerning an alleged infringement of art 2 of Italian Antitrust Law (a provision similar to art 81 EC). In June 2003, two (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority fines cement producers for concerting market practices through a cement association and for the abuse of dominant position (Holcim Hungária Rt.)
lakatos, koves and partners
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lakatos, koves and partners
The Hungarian Competition Office (HCO) launched proceedings against three cement producers : Holcim Hungária Rt. (Holcim), Duna-Dráva Cement Kft. (DDC) and BÉCEM Cement és Mészipari Rt. (BÉCEM) as well as their association : the Hungarian Cement Association (HCA) because of a suspected illegal (...)

Regulations

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion relative to the economic organisation of the sector of fruit and vegetable processing industry (Ministre de l’agriculture et de la pêche)
French Competition Authority
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Conseil de la concurrence encourages fruit and vegetable producers to organise themselves in order to strengthen their market power against distributors and reduce the offer’s uncertain nature, on condition (...)

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