Richard Burton

Van Bael & Bellis
Lawyer (Partner)

Richard Burton joined Van Bael & Bellis in 2001 after working with a leading UK national law firm. Richard is a UK-qualified solicitor specialising in all aspects of EU and UK competition law. Richard advises on a wide variety of competition law matters including cartel investigations, compliance programmes, distribution agreements, pricing and other abuse of dominance issues, merger control, joint ventures and horizontal cooperation agreements, intellectual property, and state aid. Richard Burton speaks English, Dutch and French.

Articles

27757 Bulletin

Richard Burton The EU Court of Justice dismisses appeal against a judgment of the General Court which upheld the European Commission’s decision finding a compagny participated in an illegal price-fixing cartel (Exotic Fruits cartel case)

71

On 27 April 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) dismissed an appeal lodged by banana importer Pacific Fruit (and its parent companies) against a judgment of the General Court (“GC”), which upheld the European Commission’s decision finding that Pacific Fruit had participated in (...)

Richard Burton The French Competition Authority drops charges against car rental companies for exchanging detailed and individualised sales information (Europcar / Sixt / Avis / Hertz)

145

On 27 February 2017, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) decided to close a ten-year investigation into information exchanges between car rental companies without imposing any sanction. The FCA investigated whether information exchanged through airport management authorities facilitated (...)

Richard Burton The EU Court of Justice dismisses appeals against judgments of the General Court in a cartel case confirming the responsibility of undertakings for the actions of their representative (Paraffin Wax)

255

Under EU case law, an undertaking can be held responsible for the actions of a person who is authorised to act on its behalf, regardless of any action or knowledge on the part of the managers of that undertaking. Consequently, the Commission may impose fines on an undertaking if it has shown (...)

Richard Burton The EU Court of Justice delivers fourteen decisions on appeals against judgments of the General Court in a cartel case, rejecting all appeals except two (Bathroom Fittings and Fixtures cartel)

47

Bathroom fittings and fixtures cartel case – concept of single and continuous infringement The concept of single and continuous infringement was developed by the Commission to impute liability to undertakings which had not been involved in every single cartel contact or had not engaged in every (...)

Richard Burton The EU Court of justice recalls that where the liability of the parent company is purely derivative of that of its subsidiary the liability of the parent company may not exceed that of its subsidiary (Methacrylates cartel)

178

Under settled EU case law, a parent company may be held liable for the anticompetitive behaviour of its subsidiary, even if the former has not directly participated in the infringement, provided the parent company is in a position to exercise decisive influence over its subsidiary and has, in (...)

Richard Burton The EU Court of Justice Advocate General Wahl considers that derivative liability of parent company may not exceed that of its subsidiary (Heat stabilisers cartel)

64

Under settled EU case law, a parent company may be held liable for the anticompetitive behaviour of its subsidiary even if the former has not directly participated in the infringement, provided the parent company is in a position to exercise decisive influence over its subsidiary and, in fact, (...)

Richard Burton The EU General Court annuls a cartel settlement decision on appeal due to the Commission’s failure to sufficiently inform the undertakings on the fining methodology used (Envelopes cartel)

125

Under the Commission’s cartel settlement procedure, an undertaking admitting liability to a cartel infringement and waiving certain procedural rights is rewarded with a 10% reduction in the fine. In the envelopes cartel case, the Commission fined five producers €19.4 million under the settlement (...)

Richard Burton Advocate General Kokott delivers her opinion on an appeal lodged before the EU Court of Justice against a judgment upholding the Commission’s decision finding an illegal price-fixing cartel (Pacific Fruit)

198

Summary On 17 November 2016, Advocate General (“AG”) Kokott delivered her opinion on an appeal lodged before the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) by Pacific Fruit (and its parent companies) against a judgment of the General Court (“GC”) upholding the European Commission’s decision finding an (...)

Richard Burton The EU General Court rules that a parent company cannot be held liable for aggravated circumstances of a subsidiary’s conduct prior to the date of its acquisition (Parker Hannifin)

302

Under settled case law, a subsidiary and its parent company may be regarded as forming a single economic unit for the purpose of EU competition law. In such case, the Commission may be entitled to hold the parent company jointly and severally liable for the unlawful conduct of its subsidiary (...)

Richard Burton The EU Court of Justice holds that the Commission is entitled to refer to the last business year that corresponds to a full year of normal activity to calculate the fine (Pre-stressing steel cartel)

75

Under Article 23(2) of the Regulation on the Implementation of the Rules on Competition, a fine imposed for competi- tion law infringements should not exceed 10 percent of the undertaking’s total turnover in the business year preceding the decision in which the Commission imposes the fine. In (...)

Richard Burton The EU General Court rejects actions brought against the recalculated fines imposed by the Commission in the gas insulated switchgear cartel (Toshiba / Mitsubishi)

283

On 19 January 2016, the General Court (“GC”) issued judgments rejecting actions brought by Toshiba and Mitsubishi Electric against the recalculated fines amounting to approximately € 136 million imposed by the European Commission in June 2012 for their participation in the gas insulated switchgear (...)

Richard Burton The EU General Court rules on appeals brought by several airlines against the Commission’s 2010 decision imposing fines totalling € 799 million for their alleged participation in a cartel (Airfreight cartel)

401

On 16 December 2015, the EU General Court (“GC”) handed down its judgments on appeals brought by several airlines against the European Commission’s 2010 decision imposing fines totalling € 799 million on the airlines for their alleged participation in a cartel relating to airfreight services. The (...)

Richard Burton The EU Court of Justice marginally reduces the fine imposed to a parent company in a cartel case to reflect the reduction granted to a subsidiary (Paraffin wax cartel)

259

On 17 September 2015, the Court of Justice (“ECJ”) issued two judgments on the appeals by Total SA and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Total Marketing Services, against two judgments of the General Court (“GC”) in relation to the paraffin wax cartel. In 2008, the European Commission found that Total (...)

Richard Burton The EU General Court reduces the fines imposed by the Commission on three members of a European pre-stressing steel market cartel (Pre-stressing steel cartel)

263

On 15 July 2015, the General Court (“GC”) largely upheld the EU Commission’s decision in the pre-stressing steel cartel case in ten judgments on 12 separate appeals brought against the decision. However, the GC reduced the fine imposed on several applicants on the grounds that (i) the Commission (...)

Richard Burton The European Court of Justice provides further guidance on long-term exclusive purchase and non-compete obligations (Estación de Servicio Pozuelo v Galp Energía España)

605

On 4 December 2014, the European Court of Justice (the “ECJ”) issued an order addressing two preliminary questions from the Spanish Supreme Court concerning an exclusive purchase obligation, which presumably prevented the party bound by the exclusivity from purchasing the products of competing (...)

Richard Burton The EU Commission fines € 141.8 M four producers of wire harnesses for rigging a series of tenders in breach of Article 101 TFEU (Automotive component suppliers’ cartel)

293

On 10 July 2013, the European Commission announced that it had adopted a decision fining four producers of wire harnesses a total of € 141.8 million for rigging a series of tenders in breach of Article 101 TFEU. In its decision, the Commission found that five companies – Sumitomo, Yazaki, (...)

Richard Burton The French Competition Authority fines € 79 M four distributors of commodity chemicals for engaging in cartel behavior (Brenntag, Caldic Est, Univar and Solvadis)

90

On 29 May 2013, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) fined four distributors of commodity chemicals — Brenntag, Caldic Est, Univar and Solvadis — a total of € 79 million for engaging in cartel behaviour. The FCA found that, between 1998 and mid-2005, the parties had operated a cartel to (...)

Richard Burton The EU Court of Justice upholds an appeal against a judgment of the General Court that ruled that it was not required to adjudicate on a subsidiary’s appeal when its parents had paid the fine (Mindo)

21

On 11 April 2013, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) upheld an appeal by Mindo Srl against a judgment of the General Court that ruled that it was not required to adjudicate on Mindo’s appeal against the European Commission’s 2005 decision on the Italian raw tobacco cartel. (...)

Richard Burton The EU Court of Justice upholds General Court ruling finding that reduction in subsidiary’s fine also applies to parent company where appeals have common object (Pegler, Tomkins)

30

On 22 January 2013, the Court of Justice of the EU (“ECJ”) ruled that, when the EU courts reduce a fine imposed by the Commission on a subsidiary for an infringement of the EU competition rules, they may also apply the same reduction to the fine imposed jointly and severally on the (...)

Richard Burton The EU General Court dismisses four appeals in calcium carbide and magnesium reagents cartel case (Novácke chemické závody, Ecka Granulate, Almamet, 1. garagtovaná)

44

On 12 December 2012, the General Court (“GC”) dismissed appeals by four undertakings against a Commission decision fining them for their involvement in a cartel affecting the supply of calcium carbide and magnesium reagents. The Commission’s July 2009 decision imposed fines of € 61 million (...)

Richard Burton The EU Court of Justice dismisses appeals against General Court judgment in Spanish raw tobacco cartel case (Alliance One International and Cetarsa)

41

On 12 and 19 July 2012, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) handed down its judgments dismissing in their entirety appeals brought by Compañía Española de Tabaco en Rama (“Cetarsa”), Alliance One International Inc. (“AOI”), and Standard Commercial Tobacco Co. Inc. (“SCTC”) against the General (...)

Richard Burton The EU Commission re-imposes € 131.6 M fine on Japanese companies over gas insulated switchgear cartel following General Court’s partial annulment (Mitsubishi and Toshiba)

49

On 27 June 2012, the European Commission announced that it had re-imposed a € 131.61 million fine on Toshiba and Mitsubishi Electric, after last year’s General Court (“GC”) judgment partially annulling the original decision concerning these companies’ involvement in the gas insulated (...)

Richard Burton The EU Commission makes legally binding commitments offered by companies active in nuclear markets on post-JV non-compete and confidentiality obligations (Siemens / Areva)

119

The European Commission announced, on 18 June 2012, that it had adopted a decision to make legally binding commitments offered by Siemens AG (“Siemens”) and Areva SA (“Areva”) to reduce the scope and duration of certain non-compete and confidentiality obligations imposed on Siemens further to (...)

Richard Burton The German Competition Authority concludes cartel proceedings against manufacturers of concrete pipes and imposes first fines in the proceedings on concrete paving stones (Berding Beton)

47

According to a press release of 1 March 2012, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) has concluded its cartel proceedings against manufacturers of concrete pipes and shafts for sewage systems. Following the first fines of € 11.86 million imposed on two manufacturers and individuals in the (...)

Richard Burton The German Competition Authority imposes fines totaling € 15.5 M on manufacturers and retailers of hydrants and other water network fittings (Erhard, Schmieding, Frischhut, AVK, VAG, vonRoll)

64

According to a press release of 16 December 2011, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) has imposed fines totalling approximately € 15.5 million on six manufacturers and retailers of hydrants and other water network fittings, as well as on four of their executives, for their participation (...)

Richard Burton The Spanish Competition Authority imposes fines totalling € 18 M on 19 Spanish manufacturers and distributors of fluid pumps (Bombas de Fluidos)

41

On 28 June 2011, the Spanish Competition Authority (“CNC”) announced that it had fined the Spanish Association of Fluid Pump Manufacturers (Asociación Española de Fabricantes de Bombas de Fluidos –“AEFBF”) and 19 manufacturers and/or distributors of fluid pumps a total of € 18 million for engaging in (...)

Richard Burton 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)

50

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 (...)

Richard Burton The German Competition Authority fines manufacturers of fire-fighting vehicles (Albert Ziegler, Giengen an der Brenz, Schlingmann, Dissen, and the Rosenbauer Group)

37

According to a press release of 18 February 2011, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) has imposed a total fine of € 20.5 million on three manufacturers of fire-fighting vehicles for their participation in a cartel, as well as on a Swiss accountant who assisted in operating the cartel. (...)

Richard Burton The German Competition Authority fines manufacturers of fire-fighting vehicles (Albert Ziegler, Giengen an der Brenz, Schlingmann, Dissen, and the Rosenbauer Group)

67

According to a press release of 18 February 2011, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) has imposed a total fine of € 20.5 million on three manufacturers of fire-fighting vehicles for their participation in a cartel, as well as on a Swiss accountant who assisted in operating the cartel. (...)

Richard Burton The German Competition Authority imposes fine in the sector of paper plates (Feinpappenwerk Gebr. Schuster, Hebertshausen, Hosti International, Pfedelbach, CL Rick Produktionsgesellschaft, Schleiden)

46

According to a press release of 25 January 2011, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) imposed a total fine of € 1 million for price fixing and customer allocation on five manufacturers and one wholesaler of paper plates, paper bowls, take-away bowls and paper cake trays. Representatives of the (...)

Richard Burton The Dutch Competition Authority imposes € 17.7 M fine on double-glazing cartel (Koninklijke Saint-Gobain Glass Nederland, Scheuten Glas Nederland and Pilkington Benelux)

28

In a press statement of 6 January 2011, the Dutch Competition Authority (“NMa”) announced that it had imposed a fine totalling € 17.7 million on four producers of double-glazing for taking part in a cartel on the double-glazing market in the Netherlands. The companies concerned are Koninklijke (...)

Richard Burton The ECJ Advocate General Mazák proposes to partially set aside General Court’s judgment in rubber chemicals case, while upholding parent companies’ liability (General Química, Repsol Química and Repsol YPF)

45

On 14 September 2010, Advocate General Mazák issued his opinion on an appeal brought by General Química and its parent companies, Repsol Química and Repsol YPF concerning the attribution of liability in the rubber chemicals cartel case. On 18 December 2008, the General Court (at that time, the (...)

Richard Burton The Spanish Competition Authority fines sherry cartel (Bodegas González Byass, Bodegas José Estévez, Bodegas Williams & Humbert, Bodegas Emilio Lustau, Bodegas Barbadillo, Caydsa, Bodegas J Ferris and Bodegas Pedro Romero)

66

According to a press release of 29 July 2010, the Spanish Competition Authority has imposed fines totalling approximately € 6.7 million on eight sherry producers (Bodegas González Byass, Bodegas José Estévez, Bodegas Williams & Humbert, Bodegas Emilio Lustau, Bodegas Barbadillo, Caydsa, Bodegas (...)

Richard Burton The German Competition Authority imposes further fines on coffee roasters (DKV, Gebr. Westhoff, J.J. Darboven, Kraft Foods Außer Haus Service, Luigi Lavazza Deutschland, Melitta System Service, Seeberger, Segafredo Zanetti Deutschland and Tchibo)

74

Following the imposition of fines against coffee roasters in December 2009 totalling € 159.5 million for a cartel on the market supplying the food retail sector, coffee roasters have recently again been subject to the imposition of fines by the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”). According to a (...)

Richard Burton The German Competition Authority imposes total fines of € 115 M in the sector of spectacle lenses (Carl Zeiss Vision, Essilor, Hoya Lens Deutschland, Rodenstock and Rupp+Hubrach Optik)

92

According to a press release of 28 May 2010, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) has imposed fines totalling € 115 million on five manufacturers of spectacle lenses, seven employees and a national association of opticians (“ZVA”) for their involvement in two cartel agreements. The companies (...)

Richard Burton The German Competition Authority fines mortar cartelists € 13 M for price fixing (Hagebau, Eurobaustoff, Verband Norddeutscher Baustoffhändler, Baustoff-Fachverband Landsberg)

139

On 2 March 2010, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) announced that it had imposed fines totalling € 13.36 million on the members of a price-fixing cartel in the mortar sector, who had agreed on charging additional fees to customers to cover the setting up of silos for dry mortar. The FCO’s (...)

Richard Burton The European Commission investigates the remedies proposed by airlines in the context of envisaged cooperation relating to transatlantic flights (British Airways, American Airlines, Iberia)

71

The European Commission has recently confirmed that it is investigating the sufficiency of remedies proposed by British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia in the context of its review of the compatibility of the airlines’ envisaged cooperation relating to transatlantic flights with Article (...)

Richard Burton The Spanish Competition Authority fines € 2 M hospital waste management companies for market-sharing arrangement (Consenur, Cespa, Interlun and Sistemas Integrales Sanitarios)

73

On 20 January 2010, the Spanish Competition Authority fined four undertakings active in the management of hospital waste in Spain − Consenur, Cespa, Interlun and Sistemas Integrales Sanitarios − for having entered into certain market-sharing arrangements since 1997 in breach of the provision (...)

Richard Burton The Polish Competition Authority imposes unprecedented fines on cement cartel (Lafarge Cement, Górażdże Cement, Grupa Ożarów, Cemex, Dyckerhoff, Cementownia Warta and Cementownia Odra)

68

On 10 December 2009, the Polish Competition Authority announced that it had imposed unprecedented fines amounting to PLN 411 million (approximately € 99 million) on Polish producers of grey cement, who were found to have participated in a price-fixing and market-sharing cartel for over eleven (...)

Richard Burton The European Court of Justice dismisses an appeal by four Austrian banks against a CFI judgment, in which it upheld a Commission decision that fined eight banks a total of € 124.26 M for their participation in a series of illicit agreements in the banking sector (Lombard club cartel)

125

On 24 September 2009, the ECJ dismissed in its entirety an appeal by four Austrian banks against a CFI judgment of December 2006, in which the CFI largely upheld a Commission decision of June 2002 that fined eight Austrian banks a total of € 124.26 million for their participation in a series of (...)

Richard Burton The European Court of Justice substantially reduces fine imposed in 2001 on a chemical company for its participation in a cartel on the citric acid market (Archer Daniels Midland)

109

On 9 July 2009, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) partially upheld an appeal brought by Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) against a judgment of the Court of First Instance (CFI) of 27 September 2006. As a result, the € 39 million fine that the Commission had imposed on ADM in 2001 for its (...)

Richard Burton The European Court of First Instance dismisses action against Commission’s re-adopted decision relating to the steel alloy surcharge cartel (ThyssenKrupp Stainless)

93

On 1 July 2009, the Court of First Instance (CFI) dismissed in its entirety an action by ThyssenKrupp Stainless AG (formerly Krupp Nirosta GmbH) against the European Commission’s re-adopted decision in the alloy surcharge antitrust proceeding. ThyssenKrupp had appealed against the re-adoption (...)

Richard Burton A Czech Court scraps fine for gas-insulated switchgear cartel

76

On 25 June 2008, the Regional Court in Brno annulled the decision of the Czech Competition Authority imposing fines on members of a gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) cartel. On 9 February 2007, the Czech Competition Authority imposed a fine amounting to CZK 979.221 million (approximately € 35 (...)

Richard Burton The UK OFT pays damages to settle a defamation case (Morrisons)

51

On 23 April 2008, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) issued an apology to Wm Morrisons Supermarkets plc (Morrisons) and paid £ 100,000 in damages plus legal costs to settle a defamation case brought by the supermarket. The defamation case arose from a press release issued by the OFT on 20 (...)

Richard Burton The Lazio Administrative Tribunal annuls a decision of Italian NCA in local public transport market (SITA, APM, CO.TR.I., RETITALIA, TP NET, 60 MC-Associazione)

188

In two recently published judgments of April and May 2008, the Lazio Administrative Tribunal (“LAT”) has partially annulled two decisions of the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) finding that certain companies had concluded anti-competitive arrangements relating to the local public transport (...)

Richard Burton The Italian Council of State confirms the jet fuel cartel decision and clarifies that Italian Competition Authority has no power to impose structural remedies in antitrust cases (Eni, Esso, Kuwait, Shell, Tamoil and Total)

228

The Italian Council of State has recently ruled on appeals brought against the Italian Competition Authority’s decision in the jet fuel cartel case. In June 2006, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) fined six major oil companies – Eni, Esso, Kuwait, Shell, Tamoil and Total– for their (...)

Richard Burton The Finnish Market Court imposes record fines on asphalt cartel

89

On 19 December 2007, the Finnish Market Court found seven construction companies guilty of having participated in a market-sharing and bid-rigging cartel in the asphalt sector in Finland. The Court found that the cartel had been active during the period of 1994-2001 and had affected public and (...)

Richard Burton The Italian Council of State annuls Italian Competition Authority’s decision in technical gases cartel cases (Air Liquide, Sapio, Siad, Sol, Rivoira, Linde, Son, Sico)

114

In a recently published judgment of 11 December 2007, the Italian Council of State (“ICS”) has handed down its ruling on the appeals presented by several companies and the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) against the judgment of the Lazio Administrative Tribunal (“LAT”) in the industrial gases (...)

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