April 2004

General antitrust

The EU Commission clears an alliance between two airline companies after they agree to surrender a sufficient number of taking off and landing slots at airports to restore competition between France and Italy (Air France / Alitalia)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Commission approves alliance between Air France and Alitalia* The European Commission has cleared an alliance between Air France and Alitalia after the companies agreed to surrender a sufficient number of take off and landing slots at airports to restore competition between France and Italy. (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The Hungarian Competition Authority gives youth-insurance consortium individual exemption (ÁB-Aegon Általános /Allianz Hungária / Generali-Providencia / OTP-Garancia / Uniqa)
ADVANT Beiten (Brussels)
On 29 April 2004, the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) granted individual exemption to ÁB-Aegon Általános Biztosító Rt., Allianz Hungária Biztosító Rt., Generali-Providencia Biztosító Rt., OTP-Garancia Biztosító Rt. and Uniqa Biztosító Rt., five of the largest Hungarian insurance companies jointly (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority grants individual exemption to insurance companies for the conclusion of a consortium agreement (ÁB-Aegon Általános /Allianz Hungária / Generali-Providencia / OTP-Garancia / Uniqa)
Lakatos, Köves (Budapest)
Lakatos, Köves (Budapest)
In 2003, AB-Aegon Általános Biztosító Rt, Allianz Hungária Biztosító Rt., Generali-Providencia Biztosító Rt., OTP-Garancia Biztosító Rt. and Uniqa Biztosító Rt. filed a request for negative clearance or alternatively, a request for an individual exemption with the Hungarian Competition Office (HCO). The (...)

The EU General Court reduces the fines imposed by the Commission in the graphite electrode cartel for wrongful application of calculation method (Tokai Carbon / SGL / Nippon / Showa Denko / GrafTech / SEC)
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE REDUCES THE FINES IMPOSED BY THE DECISION OF THE COMMISSION AGAINST AN ANTICOMPETITIVE CARTEL IN THE GRAPHITE ELECTRODE MARKET The total amount of the fines is reduced from EUR 207.2 million to EUR 152.8 million In a decision of 2001, the Commission found the (...)

The EU Commission adopts new safe harbor for licensing of patents, know-how, and software copyright
Brussels School of Competition (Brussels)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Latham & Watkins (Brussels)
"Commission adopts new safe harbour for licensing of patents, know-how and software copyright"* The European Commission has adopted on the 7th of April new rules for applying competition policy to the licensing of patents, know-how and software copyright. The new block exemption regulation, (...)

The UK Competition Office concludes that a general terms of agreement of an association of insurers restricts competition (Association of British Insurers)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
Association of British Insurer’s General Terms of Agreement* On 13 November 2002, the ABI notified its GTA between insurers and credit hire organisations (CHOs) to the OFT for a decision that the GTA did not fall within the Chapter I prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 (’the Act’) or, in the (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission issues its recommendations against participants in bidding for paving works (Osaka city)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
JFTC rendered recommendation to the participants in a bid of estimated prices for the paving works, ordered by Osaka city* The Fair Trade Commission of Japan (JFTC),following an investigation into the participants in comparison of estimates for the contracts of paving works called by the Water (...)

The UK OFT considers that a pooling agreement between British insurers set up to provide reinsurance against acts of terrorism was contrary to national competition provisions but met the criteria for individual exemption (Pool Re)
French Ministry of Economy and Finance (Paris)
Background On 7 March 2003, Pool Re, a company set up in 1993 by British insurers to act as a reinsurer in respect of terrorism cover, requested from the Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) a decision that the arrangements governing its operations were not contrary to UK antitrust rules - especially (...)

The French Competition Authority hands down interim measures in the ADSL television sector (France Télécom / TPS)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Conseil de la concurrence hands down interim measures in the ADSL television sector.* In its decision 04-MC-01 of 15th April 2004, the Conseil de la concurrence handed down interim measures against the (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Danish Competition Authority finds a mobile telephone company in violation of the Danish Competition law for operating a margin squeeze and an illegal bonus system (Song Networks / TDC-SONOFON)
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer (Brussels)
A Danish provider of fixed line telephony for business customers, Song Networks A/S, complained to the Danish Competition Authority alleging that TDC and SONOFON had engaged in illegal behaviour by: charging excessive prices for mobile termination, engaging in collusive behaviour in connection (...)

The French Competition Authority sanctions a leading producer for having abused its dominant position in the blue-veined cheese sector (SOCIETE Group)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Conseil de la concurrence penalises the Société des Caves et des Producteurs Réunis de Roquefort (SOCIETE Group) for abuse of a dominant position and hands down a fine of 5 million euros.* Following a referral by the Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry in December 2000, the Conseil de (...)


The Austrian Cartel Court clears an acquisition in the national market for industrial sugar and fruit preparations, subject to behavioural remedies including the obligation to link prices charged to smaller customers to the average prices for larger delivery quantities (Agrana / Atys)
Taylor Wessing (Berlin)
The operation Agrana Zucker und Stärke AG (Agrana) is one of the leading Central European sugar and starch producing groups. Since 2003 it has also been globally active in the fruit market, which makes up the third core segment of its business. The French company Financière Atys SA (Atys) is (...)

The Italian Antitrust Authority clears without remedies the acquisition by the national public broadcaster of 84 digital broadcasting network (Rai / Rami Di Azienda)
Ashurst (Brussels)
Legance - Studio Legale (Rome)
Iliad (Milano)
Background On 29 April 2004, the Italian Antitrust Authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato) cleared the acquisition by the national public broadcaster, Radiotelevisione Italiana S.p.A. (Rai), of 11 going concerns composed of 84 digital broadcasting networks, including the (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority clears a merger in the press sector with remedies, including the obligation to guarantee the normal circulation of a newspaper as long as its commercial operation was profitable (Lusomondo / Ocasiao e Anuncipress)
PLMJ (Lisbon)
The operation Lusomundo Media, SGPS, S.A. (Lusomundo) is a sub-holding of the Portugal Telecom Group operating in the media industry market. Ocasião Edições Periódicas, Lda. (Ocasião) is an undertaking whose corporate purpose is to publicize the business activity of third parties through (...)

Lithuanian control of concentration: A comparison with the EC Merger Regulation
Cobalt Legal (Vilnius)
Valiunas Ellex (Vilnius)
The effective provisions of the Law on Competition of the Republic of Lithuania n° VIII-1099 of 23 March 1999 (hereinafter referred to as “the Law on Competition”) on control of concentrations are generally harmonized with the policy on merger control of the European Union (hereinafter referred to (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority cleared with remedies a proposed merger in maritime transport services but the Council of Ministries required additional provisions for the implementation of the remedies (Balearia / UMAFISA)
PwC (Madrid)
The operation The operation involved the acquisition of UMAFISA by Eurolíneas Marítimas, a subsidiary of the Balearia group. The activities of the Balearia group focus on the provision of (passengers and freight) maritime transport services, mainly in the Mediterranean Sea (routes between (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority clears a merger in the audiovisual sector with remedies, including the promotion and availability of a TV channel signal (PPTV / PT Conteudos / Sport TV)
PLMJ (Lisbon)
The operation This operation consisted in the acquisition of joint control over SPORT TV Portugal, S.A. (SPORT TV) which operates the business activity of television and broadcasting, and the acquisition and resale of television broadcasting rights for different sporting events by PPTV - (...)

The French Minister of Economics cleared a merger in the sector of do-it-yourself retailing with behavioural remedies (Leroy Merlin / Domaxel)
Paris Dauphine University
The operation By a short letter dated 7 April 2004, the French Minister of Economy, Finance, and Employment authorised the merger between Leroy Merlin participation (hereafter : “Leroy Merlin”) and Domaxel A&S. Leroy Merlin is specialised in do-it-yourself and home improvement products (...)

The Irish Competition Authority cleared a merger in the market for ferry routes between Great Britain and Ireland subject to notification of future acquisitions (Stena / P&O)
World Economic Forum (Geneva)
The operation On 5 April 2004 the Irish Competition Authority (“ICA”) cleared in a Phase 1 decision the acquisition by Stena AB (“Stena”) of all the assets of P&O relating to P&O’s ferry business between the Irish sea ports of Larne (Northern Ireland) and Fleetwood (Great Britain (“GB”)). (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority clears a merger in the market for medical equipment with remedies, including maintaining non-discriminatory distribution and ensuring equipment availability (Dräger Medical / Hillenbrand)
PLMJ (Lisbon)
The operation The concentration consisted in the acquisition of HILLENBRAND INDUSTRIES Inc.’s neonatal thermotherapy activities (which operated under the name “Hill-Rom Air-Shields”) by DRÄGER MEDICAL AG&Co., through its subsidiary in Delaware, DRÄGER MEDICAL INFANT CARE Inc. DRÄGER MEDICAL (...)

State Aid

The EU Court of Justice dismisses the Commission’s appeal and confirms the General Court’s ruling concerning Germany’s restructuring aid for shipyards (Kvaerner Warnow Werft)
European Commission DG ENER (Brussels)
"Capacity limitations for shipyards in the context of the Court of Justice’ judgement on Kvaerner Warnow Werft (KWW)"* Introduction On 28 February 2002, the Court of First Instance annulled two Commission decisions concerning the East German shipyard Kvaerner Warnow Werft (KWW), which ruled (...)

The EU Commission applies the market economy investor principle in State aid cases concerning German State owned companies (German Landesbanken Cases)
E.CA Economics (Berlin)
ESCP Europe (Paris)
"Applying the Market Economy Investor Principle to State Owned Companies — Lessons Learned from the German Landesbanken Cases"* Introduction The Market Economy Investor Principle (MEIP) is in the Commission’s practice one of the entry points for economic analysis in State aid cases. Its purpose (...)


The Mannheim Regional Court and the Dortmund Regional Court decide on damages claims brought by the vitamins cartel’s customers (Vitaminpreise)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Berlin)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Berlin)
Following the European Commission’s decision regarding the vitamin cartel (Commission Decision 2003/2/EC, of 21 November 2001, relating to a proceeding pursuant to Article 81 of the EC Treaty and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement (Case COMP/E-1/37.512 - Vitamins), OJEC L 6, 10 January 2003, pp. (...)


The EU Commission rules on access to gas pipelines (Marathon)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
European Anti-Fraud Office - OLAF (Brussels)
DG GROW (Brussels)
"Access to gas pipelines: lessons learnt from the Marathon case"* 1. Introduction Access to gas pipelines is an essential prerequisite for the successful liberalisation of the European gas markets. If new suppliers do not obtain access to existing gas pipelines, the possibility for gas (...)

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