December 2000

Anticompetitive practices

The European Commission prepares a report on the evaluation of the block exemption regulation relating to motor vehicle distribution (Regulation (EC) n° 1475/95)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"Monitoring of Regulation (EC) n° 1475/95 concerning the distribution of motor vehicles"* The block exemption Regulation relating to motor vehicle distribution entered into force on July 1, 1995 and will expire on September 30, 2002. It allows selective and exclusive distribution and servicing (...)

The European Commission fines fifth largest manufacturer of construction and earthmoving machines for its restrictive distribution agreements in several Member States (JCB Service)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"Commission fines JCB Service for its restrictive distribution agreements in several Member States"* On 21 December 2000, the Commission adopted a decision finding that JCB Service, the UK-based parent company of the JC Bamford Group, infringes Article 81 of the EC Treaty and imposed on it a (...)

The European Commission approves a liner shipping consortium (Europe to Caribbean Consortium)
DG COMP (Brussels)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
"Commission clears two liner shipping consortia"* In October and December 2000 the Commission received two notifications of agreements envisaging the formation of consortia of liner shipping companies in the sense of Regulation 823/2000. The former consists of several such companies wanting (...)

Unilateral Practices

The French Competition Authority opens an inquiry in the telephony sector and imposes interim measures (France Télécom)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Conseil de la concurrence launches an inquiry concerning the France Télécom’s “Ligne France” tariff offer, and issues interim measures* In a decision dated 5th December 2000, following a referral by the (...)

Mergers

The Spanish Council of Ministers reverses the Spanish Competition Authority’s decision having blocked a merger but imposed remedies (Mahou/San Miguel)
RBB Economics (Madrid)
The operation The operation consisted of the acquisition by Mahou of 100% of the shares of Enterprise Resource Planning, the mother company of San Miguel. Mahou and San Miguel were two of the main beer manufacturers in the Spanish market (combined market share of about 35%). The Spanish (...)

The European Commission adopts a notice on remedies acceptable to solve competition problems raised by mergers and acquisitions
European External Action Service (Brussels)
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Financial Conduct Authority (London)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
"Merger Control: main developments between 1st September 2000 and 31st December 2000"* On 21st December 2000 the European Commission adopted a Notice on remedies acceptable to solve competition problems raised by mergers and acquisitions. The Notice is designed to provide the business and (...)

The Dutch NCA cleared a merger in the sector of alcohol subject to divestment (Rémy Cointreau - Bols)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
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Eversheds Sutherland (Amsterdam)
The operation Rémy Cointreau proposed acquiring the whole of Bols’ issued share capital (para. 6). The market(s) The NMa assessed the effects of the merger in relation to the markets for (i) wine, (ii) rum, (iii) wodka, (iv) whiskey and (v) brandy and cognac (para. 65, 66, 67, 68 and 75-77). (...)

The European Commission approves, subject to remedies, a merger in the industrial hydraulic pumps sector (Bosch/Rexroth)
European External Action Service (Brussels)
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Financial Conduct Authority (London)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
"Merger Control: main developments between 1st September 2000 and 31st December 2000"* The transaction is part of a broader plan by Mannesmann to offload its non-telecommunications activities. The Commission’s investigation found that the combined firms would have a dominant position on the (...)

The French Economic Minister clears a merger in the electricity supply market with strict governance remedies and divestments (Vivendi Environnement / EDF / Dalkia)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The operation The Minister clears the acquisition of joint control by EDF and Vivendi Environnement of certain Dalkia’ subsidiaries. The markets Electricity supply, cogeneration, facilities management. Remedy 1: Governance Given the monopolistic position of EDF in the market for the supply (...)

The EU Commission clears a joint venture combining the nuclear activities of French and German companies (Framatome / Siemens)
European External Action Service (Brussels)
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Financial Conduct Authority (London)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
"Merger Control: main developments between 1st September 2000 and 31st December 2000"* On 6th December 2000, the European Commission cleared a joint venture which combines the nuclear activities of Framatome SA of France with those of Siemens AG of Germany. The joint venture, as initially (...)

The Hungarian Competition Office clears a merger in the mobile and wired telecommunications sector subject to a non-discrimination obligation, a remedy cancelled in appeal for lack of precision (Westel 900/Magyar Távközlési)
Clifford Chance
The operation The HCO authorized the acquisition of control of Matáv over the Westel and Westel 900 mobile service operators. Matáv mainly operates in the wired telecommunication sector but through its ownership in the Westel 450 and Westel 900 mobile service operators it is an important player (...)

State Aid

The French Administrative Court of Lille rules that tax payers are entitled to refuse payment of taxes under carcass disposal scheme due to failure to notify scheme to EC Commission as required by State aid provisions (Lianoudis)
Sheppard Mullin (Brussels)
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Maersk (Copenhagen)
Brief description of the facts and legal issues The claimant contested the legality of the tax. Summary of the Court’s findings The Administrative Court of Lille stated that stockbreeders were the quasi-exclusive beneficiaries of the services financed by the tax. The Lille Court considered (...)

The European Commission takes a negative final decision on the Swedish reduced social contributions scheme (Modified reduced social contributions aid scheme)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"Main developments between 1st October and 31st December 2000"* On 21 December 2000, the Commission took a negative final decision on the Swedish Reduced social contributions scheme. Under the aid scheme in question, the social security contributions payable for each person employed in an (...)

The European Commission decides not to object to an infrastructure development scheme notified by the UK authorities, under which the State, acting through a real estate company, will buy land, develop it for commercial use and then sell or lease it at market price (Welsh Development Agency)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"Main developments between 1st October and 31st December 2000"* On 6 December 2000 the Commission decided not to object to an infrastructure development scheme, under which the State, acting through the Welsh Development Agency, will buy land, develop it for commercial use and then sell or (...)

Procedures

The European Court of First Instance introduces an expedited (’fast-track’) procedure for certain cases, including in particular merger cases
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
"Judicial review and merger control: The CFI’s expedited procedure"* 1. Introduction The recent introduction by the Court of First Instance (CFI) of an expedited (’fast-track’) procedure for certain cases, including in particular merger cases, has been greeted positively by the business and (...)

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