April 2003

Anticompetitive practices

The European Commission provides clear guidance on the compliance of network sharing in 3rd generation mobile telecommunications systems with EC competition rules (T-Mobile/O2)
Baker Botts (Brussels)
University of Tilburg
"Network sharing in 3rd generation mobile telecommunications systems: minding the coverage gap and complying with EC competition rules"* Introduction In February 2002, T-Mobile and O2 notified two agreements that provided for the Parties to cooperate by way of network sharing in the buildout (...)

The EU Commission closes an investigation involving the incumbent Danish gas supplier and the country’s main gas producers after the latter committed themselves to market their production individually (DONG / DUC)
European Anti-Fraud Office - OLAF (Brussels)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"Vertical and horizontal restraints in the European gas sector – lessons learnt from the DONG/DUC case"* 1. Introduction On 23 April 2003 the Commission services closed their investigation into the DONG/DUC case relating to the Danish gas market . This case as well as some other cases recently (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission issues its recommendations against participants to bid rigging in the fields of building-cleaning
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
JFTC renders recommendation to building-cleaning companies for rigging bids by Yamaguchi City and Shimonoseki City.* The JFTC has today issued recommendation to 29 participants in bids for building-cleaning by public offices in Yamaguchi City and Shimonoseki City for violating Section 3 (...)

The EU Commission approves the amended supply agreements between the largest Belgium brewer and the Horeca outlets located in the Belgium market (Interbrew)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
"European Commission opens up Interbrew’s Belgian horeca outlets to competing beer brands"* On 15 April 2003, the European Commission approved the amended supply agreements between Interbrew, the largest brewer in Belgium, and pubs, restaurants or hotels (horeca-outlets) located on the Belgian (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority finds price fixing among competitors concerning the determination of recommended prices applied towards their sub-contractors to be anti-competitive (Trans Holding)
Oppenheim (Budapest)
Oppenheim (Budapest)
Description of the impugned case The undertakings under investigation (five Hungarian undertakings, the business activity of which is carrying out the examination of originality of automotives) agreed in fixing their prices towards their sub-contractors and at the same time required such (...)

The Spanish National Court significantly reduces the fine imposed on a local association of driving schools for issuing a collective recommendation on prices (Autoescuelas Alcalá)
Martinez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann (Madrid)
The decision of the competition authority On 9 March 2000, the Tribunal de Defensa de la Competencia (TDC) -the second-tier competition authority that existed in Spain under Act 16/1989 and that has been replaced since September 1st 2007 by a single body, the National Competition Commission- (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice holds that restrictions of retailers’ pricing freedom that are limited to a short period of time and that are not appreciable do not constitute an unlawful RPM (1 Riegel extra)
Linklaters (Düsseldorf)
Description of the impugned case The case deals with a competitor’s claim against the sales-promotional action of a distributor of chocolate bars in the framework of which this distributor brought on the market packages with the imprint « Action box.... only for a short period of time: 1 extra (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Dutch Competition Authority considers investments as an objective justification for discriminatory rebates (Superunie / Interpay)
Stibbe (Amsterdam)
Introduction Interpay is a joint venture between eight Dutch banks ("the shareholders"), founded in 1994 to provide network services for PIN-transactions. PIN-transactions are payments with debit cards with PIN through pay machines at retailers. The shareholders use Interpay as a joint sales (...)

The Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of England & Wales gives important guidelines as to the standard of proof for claiming damages in competition cases (Arkin)
Reed Smith (London)
Arkin v. Borchard Lines Ltd., [2003] All E.R. (D) 173, [2003] EWHC 687 (Comm) (10 April 2003), is important as one of the first damages claims brought in a United Kingdom court for breach of Articles 81 and 82 of the Rome Treaty involving private enforcement of competition law. It was decided (...)


The EU Commission conditionally clears the merger of the medical ventilators, anaesthesia delivery systems and patient monitoring businesses of two German companies (Siemens / Drägerwerk)
DG Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN) (Brussels)
DG COMP (Brussels)
DG GROW (Brussels)
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st January 2003 and 30th April 2003"* On 30 April 2003, the Commission approved, subject to conditions, the merger of the medical ventilators, anaesthesia delivery systems and patient monitoring businesses of Siemens AG and Drägerwerk AG, two German (...)

The EU Commission authorizes the acquisition of joint control of a newly created joint venture operating a system for the collection of road tolls from heavy trucks in Germany (DaimlerChrysler / Deutsche Telekom / Toll Collect)
DG Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN) (Brussels)
DG COMP (Brussels)
DG GROW (Brussels)
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st January 2003 and 30th April 2003"* On 30 April 2003 the European Commission authorised the acquisition of joint control by DaimlerChrysler AG and Deutsche Telekom AG of the newly created joint venture Toll Collect GmbH. Toll Collect will establish (...)

The French Minister of Economy cleared in Phase II a merger in the press sector with structural and behavioural commitments, including bundling prohibition and termination of exclusive contract (France Antilles / Comareg)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The operation In the case at hand, Vivendi Universal Publishing sold its entire equity interest in Comareg to France Antilles. Following the opinion given by the competition council, the Minister cleared the merger subject to structural and behavioral remedies. The market(s) The markets (...)

The Slovak Antimonopoly Office approves a merger in the sector of pharmacy with remedies including the divestiture of a business unit designated for a production of specific medicaments (Pfizer / Pharmacia)
Čechová & Partners (Bratislava)
The operation By a decision dated 23 04 2003, the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic approved the acquisition of exclusive control of the undertaking Pfizer over the undertaking Pharmacia by a merger between the 100% subsidiary of Pfizer - company Pilsner Acquisition Sub Corp. and (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Council cleared a merger in the buying-in of milk and skimmed milk products markets with remedies of certain rules for management of and prior notification of any planned structural changes in the acquired company (Rokiðkio sûris / Panevëþio pienas)
Vodafone (Istanbul)
The operation By a decision dated 3 April 2003, the Lithuanian Competition Council authorized in phase I the acquisition of 35,5 % of shares of AB Panevëþio pienas (« Panevëþio pienas ») by AB Rokiðkio sûris (« Rokiðkio sûris »). By the concentration, joint control of Panevëþio pienas was acquired by (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority cleared a merger in the confectionery market subject to remedies, including termination or revision of the obligation preventing the acquisition of shares of a competing company for investment purposes (Cadbury / Pfizer)
Esin (Istanbul)
The operation Pfizer Inc. is a company which is primarily active in the field of production, development and marketing of pharmaceutical products, and products which are related to human and animal health. Adams is the business department of Warner Lambert which is a subsidiary of Pfizer. (...)

The EU General Court upholds the Commission’s rejection of a proposed purchaser of divested petrol stations in a merger between two leading oil companies (TotalFina / Elf)
DG COMP (Brussels)
JG Associates (Brussels)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"Merger control: main developments between 1st May and 31st August 2003"* This judgement finds that the Commission did not go beyond the limits of its discretionary power in assessing whether the applicants could be accepted as buyers of certain assets in the course of divestitures on which a (...)

The EU Commission gives the green light to the merger between the two existing satellite pay-TV platforms in Italy subject to a complex package of conditions (Newscorp / Telepiù)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"The Commission closes probe into pay-TV industry in Italy approving Newscorp/Telepiù merger deal"* On 2 April 2003, after an in-depth investigation, the Commission gave the green light to the merger between the two existing satellite pay-TV platforms in Italy subject to a complex package of (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission proposes to French authorities to phase out State guarantee granted to a public financial institution (CDC IXIS)
European Commission - DG EAC
"Where state guarantees supporting commercial banking activities distort competition, they must be abolished: the case of CDC IXIS"* Introduction Commission decisions have consistently confirmed that the financial sector is subject to competition rules, including those relating to state aid, (...)

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