December 2018

Anticompetitive practices

The Portuguese Competition Authority fines two insurance companies for market sharing (Fidelidade – Companhia de Seguros / Multicare – Seguros de Saúde)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC imposes fines of €12 million on insurance companies for cartel settlement* The Portuguese Competition Authority (Autoridade da Concorrência – AdC) imposed fines in the total amount of €12 million on the insurers Fidelidade – Companhia de Seguros and Multicare – Seguros de Saúde for market (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority opens an investigation concerning suspected price-fixing agreements between consumer-goods manufacturers and retailers
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM investigates price-fixing agreements between consumer-goods manufacturers and retailers* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has launched an investigation into price-fixing agreements between consumer-goods manufacturers and retailers (including online retailers). ACM (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority fines an undertaking and its manager for bid-rigging in the sector of railway maintenance services (Sacyr Neopul)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC sanctions an undertaking and its manager for anticompetitive practices in the sector of railway maintenance services.* The AdC imposed fines totalling 365,400 euros on Sacyr Neopul S.A., and its production manager, for participating in a horizontal agreement (cartel) that resulted in price (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority confirms unannounced inspections in five locations of four telecommunications operators
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC confirms dawn raids in four telecommunications operators* The Portuguese Competition Authority (AdC - Autoridade da Concorrência) confirms that it carried out dawn raids have been carried out in five locations of four telecommunication companies, following suspicions of antitrust practices (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines several automotive constructors for cartel in the market of car sales through financing (Car Finance)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
Car sales through financing: ICA sanctions cartel among leading operators imposing fines of over 670 million euros* On 20 December 2018, the Italian Competition Authority concluded an investigation launched against the leading captive banks and related automotive groups operating in Italy in (...)

The EU Commission sends a Statement of Objection to four banks accused of collusion in the bond trading market
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections in US Dollar supra-sovereign, sovereign and agency bond trading cartel* The European Commission has informed four banks of its preliminary view that they have breached EU antitrust rules by colluding, in periods from 2009 to 2015, to distort (...)

The French Competition Authority fines several producers and wholesale distributors of liquid fertilizers for resale price maintenance (Canna France / GHE / Bertels / Biobizz / Hydro Factory / Hydro Logistique and CIS)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité hands down fines for anticompetitive practices to several producers and wholesale distributors of liquid fertilisers.* Why are vertical pricing agreements forbidden in competition law? Competition law generally forbids horizontal (between competitors) and vertical agreements (...)

The Italian Competition Authority finds a cartel in the market for car hire purchase and imposes a record fine (Car Finance)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
In the Car Finance case the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has levied a record-breaking fine of overall € 670 million on the participants to a secret cartel affecting the business sector of car hire purchase. The anticompetitive agreement was put in place by several car manufacturers, BMW, (...)

The EU Commission fines a clothing company close to €40 million for restricting cross-border trade (Guess)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release issued on 17 December 2018, the European Commission (“Commission”) has fined the clothing company Guess € 39.8 million for infringing Article 101(1) Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) by imposing various types of resale restrictions on authorised (...)

The EU Commission fines a clothing brand and retailer for anticompetitive agreements to block cross-border sales (Guess)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Guess €40 million for anticompetitive agreements to block cross-border sales* The European Commission today fined the clothing company Guess €39 821 000 for restricting retailers from online advertising and selling cross-border to consumers in other Member States (...)

The EU Commission fines a clothing company for restricting retailers from online advertising and selling cross-border to consumers in other Member States (Guess)
McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
On 17 December 2018, the EC announced its decision to fine the clothing and accessories company Guess EUR 39.821 million for restricting retailers from online advertising and selling cross-border to consumers in other Member States. By doing so the company was able to maintain artificially high (...)

The UK Competition and Markets Authority provisionally finds that three drainage product manufacturers participated to illegal cartel (FP McCann / Derbyshire-based Stanton Bonna Concrete / Somerset-based CPM Group)
British Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Two construction firms admit to illegal cartel* The CMA has provisionally found that 3 drainage product manufacturers broke competition law by co-ordinating prices for customers and sharing the market. Two of the businesses – Derbyshire-based Stanton Bonna Concrete Ltd and Somerset-based CPM (...)

The City Court of Odense acquits construction companies accused of exchanging prices and coordinating their bids (Jorton / H. Skjøde Knudsen)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Denmark: City Court acquits construction companies in bid rigging case* The City Court of Odense acquitted the construction companies Jorton A/S and H. Skjøde Knudsen A/S as well as three members of the management in a bid rigging case. On 12 December 2018, the City Court of Odense acquitted (...)

The EU General Court rules that territorial exclusivity clauses in copyright licensing agreements raise competition concerns (Canal +)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 12 December 2018, the EU General Court (“GC” or “Court”) dismissed the application for annulment which Canal + SA (“Canal +”) had brought against a European Commission (“Commission”) decision that had made commitments offered by Paramount Pictures Ltd (“Paramount”) in the context of copyright (...)

The EU General Court holds that patent settlements may be deemed “pay-for-delay” agreements only if there are reverse payments, and the originator may not be held dominant if the market is not assessed rigorously (Servier)
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
The Servier judgments: patent settlements may be deemed “pay-for-delay” agreements, and thus by-object infringements of Article 101 TFEU only if Commission substantiates strong indication of “reverse payment” or “abnormal inducement” from the originator to the generic; further, the originator cannot (...)

The EU General Court annuls a decision of the Commission for wrongly qualifying agreements as "pay for delay" and improperly qualifying an abuse of dominance and so reduces the fine imposed on a pharmaceutical company (Servier)
Dechert (Paris)
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Dechert (Paris)
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Dechert (Paris)
On 12 December 2018, the General Court (“Court”) partially annulled the European Commission’s decision of 9 July 2014 in the Servier case and consequently reduced Servier’s fine by more than 30%, from €330.99 million to €228.32 million. After the Lundbeck judgment of 8 September 2016, this second (...)

The EU General Court offers a mixed review of patent settlement agreements in the pharmaceutical sector (Servier)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 12 December 2018, the General Court (“GC”) once again passed judgment on a number of patent settlement agreements in the pharmaceutical sector. It had already reviewed such agreements in September 2016 when it upheld the decision of the European Commission (the “Commission”) in the Lundbeck (...)

The Paris Court of appeal specifies a manufacturer’s right to deny access to its selective distribution network to an applicant distributor in the electronic product market in compliance with competition law and civil law (Sony Europe / Concurrence)
Osborne Clarke (Paris)
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Osborne Clarke (Paris)
This case concerned a consumer electronics manufacturer and a distributor between whom the relationship was particularly conflicting. A large number of commercial disputes were brought before the courts by the distributor to obtain the right to distribute the manufacturer’s products. Even though (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority decides to settle a case against two press distribution agencies for participating in horizontal agreements or/and concerted practices (Argos / Europi)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
Settlement case in the market of distribution of Greek press* By its unanimous Decision No. 669/2018, the Grand Chamber of the Hellenic Competition Commission (“HCC”) decided to settle a case against two press distribution agencies in Greece, ARGOS SA Press Distribution Agency (“ARGOS”) and (...)

The German Competition Authority fines asphalt producers for cartel (Gaul / Südhessische Asphalt-Mischwerke / Mitteldeutsche Hartstein-Industrie)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt imposes fine of approx. 1.4 million euros on asphalt producers and reviews association guidelines for setting up supplier consortia* The Bundeskartellamt has imposed a fine amounting to 1.43 million euros on Gaul GmbH, a manufacturer of asphalt mixes, for participating in a (...)

The Board of Directors of the Egyptian Competition Authority invalidates clauses between a Big Tech company and its distributors for exclusive agreements considered as restrictive (Apple)
Egyptian Competition Authority (Cairo)
Unofficial convenience translation: In case of any discrepancy in this translation the Arabic wording only would prevail.* The Board of Directors of the Egyptian Competition Authority (“ECA”) has decided that Apple and its distributors have infringed the Egyptian Competition Law (“ECL”). The ECA (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority detects illegal coordination between providers of office equipment maintenance and delivery services (TOMEGA / BTK.LV)
Konkurences padome (Riga)
The CC detects forbidden coordination of activities by providers of office equipment maintenance and delivery services* On 7 December, the Competition Council of Latvia (the CC) adopted a decision, according to which it detected unlawful and repeated coordination of activities between (...)

The COMESA Competition Commission’s second investigation into restrictive vertical distribution ends with a beverage company avoiding a fine after agreeing to eliminate price maintenance clauses (Coca-Cola)
Primerio (Washington)
COMESA’S SECOND RESTRICTIVE TRADE PRACTICES INVESTIGATION ENDS INCONCLUSIVELY* Having now concluded two non-merger cases (the first was an exclusivity issue in football broadcasting and sponsorship agreements, see here), the COMESA Competition Commission’s (“CCC”) second investigation into (...)

The French Competition Authority fines six household appliance manufacturers for agreeing on price increases (BSH / Candy Hoover / Eberhart Frères / Electrolux / Indesit / Whirlpool)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence hands down fines worth a total of €189 million to six household appliance manufacturers, among the largest in the sector, notably for having agreed on price increases * Background Following evidence provided by the Directorate General for Competition Policy, (...)

The French Competition Authority fines household appliance manufacturers for price-fixing (BSH / Candy Hoover / Eberhardt Frères / Electrolux / Indesit / Whirlpool)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 6 December 2018, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) imposed a total fine of € 189 million on six household appliance manufacturers (BSH, Candy Hoover, Eberhardt Frères, Electrolux, Indesit and Whirlpool) for participating in two distinct cartels. In the first cartel, which lasted from (...)

The EU Commission invites interested parties to comment on the commitments offered by two credit card companies to address competition concerns relating to inter-regional interchange fees for card payment transactions (Mastercard II / Visa)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission seeks feedback on commitments offered by Visa and Mastercard on inter-regional interchange fees* The European Commission is inviting comments from interested parties on commitments offered separately by Visa and Mastercard to address competition concerns relating to (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Presidium of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation considers a competition case for the first time, granting the appeal of Europe’s largest port operator concerning sanctions for abuse of dominance (Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port)
ALRUD (Moscow)
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ALRUD (Moscow)
THE FIRST COMPETITION CASE IN THE PRESIDIUM OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION – RESOLUTION OF THE DISPUTE BETWEEN THE FAS AND THE LARGEST STEVEDORE* Background and main problems Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port PJSC (“NCSP”) is one of the Europe’s largest port operator in terms of (...)

The Ontario Superior Court holds that misleading informations can trigger class actions as breach of the Competition Act (Rebuck / Ford Motor)
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation (Vancouver)
Key Requirements For Misleading Advertising Civil Actions Confirmed By Ontario Superior Court* In a recent case handed down by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, in Rebuck v. Ford Motor Company, the Court confirmed key requirements for commencing Competition Act misleading advertising (...)

The EU Commission fines a gas supply company and its subsidiaries for blocking access to key natural gas infrastructure in Bulgaria (BEH)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines BEH Group € 77 million for blocking access to key natural gas infrastructure in Bulgaria* The European Commission has fined Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH), its gas supply subsidiary Bulgargaz and its gas infrastructure subsidiary Bulgartransgaz (the BEH group) €77 (...)

The EU Commission fines an energy company over € 77 million for abuse of dominance on Bulgarian gas markets (Bulgarian Energy)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 17 December 2018, the European Commission (the “Commission”) adopted a decision imposing a fine of € 77,068,000 on Bulgarian Energy Holding (“BEH”), its gas supply subsidiary Bulgargaz, and its gas infrastructure subsidiary Bulgartransgaz (together, the “BEH Group”) for infringing Article 102 of (...)

The General Court slightly reduces the fine in a case of abuse of dominance in the telecom sector to account for the Commission’s failure to establish exclusionary effects over limited period (Slovak Telekom)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 13 December 2018, the General Court (the “GC”) issued a judgment upholding in large part an October 2014 decision of the European Commission (the “Commission”) against Slovak Telekom, in which it found that Slovak Telekom had abused its dominant position by engaging in a constructive refusal to (...)

The EU Commission imposes binding remedies on a German grid operator to increase electricity trading (TenneT)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission imposes binding obligations on TenneT to increase electricity trading capacity between Denmark and Germany* The European Commission has adopted a decision rendering legally binding commitments offered by German grid operator TenneT to significantly increase cross-border (...)

The EU Commission accepts commitments from a company to settle an investigation into conduct affecting the German and Danish electricity markets (TenneT)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 7 December 2018, the European Commission (“Commission”) adopted a decision accepting a number of commitments from TenneT to address the Commission’s competition concerns regarding TenneT’s conduct that allegedly limited southward capacity at the electricity interconnector between Western Denmark (...)

Mergers

The French Competition Authority clears the creation of a joint undertaking subject to remedies in VAT refund services markets (Global Blue / Planet Payment)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears, subject to conditions, the creation of the Cash Paris Tax Refund company by Global Blue and Planet Payment* A transaction referred by the European Commission On 21 August 2018, the European Commission referred to the Autorité de la concurrence the review (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority clears a merger subject to remedies in the pharmaceutical sector (Apotex / Aurobindo)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM clears merger between pharmaceutical companies Aurobindo and Apotex* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has cleared the acquisition of pharmaceutical company Apotex by rival company Aurobindo. The clearance was granted after the companies had proposed to sell (...)

The UK Competition Authority clears a wet-lease agreement between two airlines for the operation of flights between London City airport and Dublin (Aer Lingus / CityJet)
British Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Aer Lingus / CityJet deal cleared for take-off* Aer Lingus’ deal with CityJet for the London City airport to Dublin route has been cleared after a CMA probe. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has today cleared an agreement under which Aer Lingus has taken over scheduled passenger (...)

The Indian Competition Authority approves purchase of 40% equity share in non-life insurer by international insurer with only life insurance business in the country (Ageas / RSGI Royal Sundaram General Insurance)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI approves acquisition of 40% equity share capital of Royal Sundaram General Insurance Company Limited by Ageas* By way of order dated 19.12.2018, the Commission has approved the acquisition of 40% equity share capital of Royal Sundaram General Insurance Company Limited (“RSGI/ Target”) by (...)

The Indian Competition Authority clears investment company’s acquisition of optionally convertible preferential stock in an engineering company, equivalent to 34.65% of common shares (Integral / Toyo Engineering)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
Integral Corporation acquires optionally convertible preferential stock in Toyo engineering Corporation* The Commission, by way of order dated 19.12.2018, has approved the acquisition of optionally convertible preferential stock (without voting rights) of Toyo Engineering Corporation (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority fines a company for gun-jumping in the market of technical building services (ETS / TGS Engineering)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
GVH once again imposes a fine for the implementation of a concentration prior to authorisation* The Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal, hereinafter GVH) imposed a fine for the seventh time for the implementation of a concentration prior to authorisation by the GVH. The (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the data security solutions market (Gemalto / Thales)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Gemalto by Thales, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Gemalto by Thales. The approval is conditional on the divestment of Thales’ general purpose hardware security (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation to assess a merger in telecoms and TV services market (Liberty Global / Vodafone)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition by Vodafone of Liberty Global’s business in Czechia, Germany, Hungary and Romania* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess Vodafone’s proposed acquisition of Liberty Global’s business in (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the ceilings manufacturing market (Armstrong / Knauf)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Armstrong’s ceilings business outside the Americas by Knauf, subject to conditions* The European Commission has conditionally approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Armstrong World Industries’ ceilings business outside the Americas (...)

The Indian Competition Authority clears acquisition of 100% stake in foreign company’s subsidiary’s 4 target businesses by 2 domestic companies in the same trust group in the food sector (Heinz India / Cadila / Zydus)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
Zydus/Cadila acquire 100 percent shareholding of Heinz India* CCI, by way of order dated 06.12.2018, approved the acquisition of Heinz India from Heinz Italia and Heinz Europe by Zydus/Cadila. By way of the acquisition, Zydus/Cadila (“acquirers”) acquired businesses relating to four brands (...)

The Indian Competition Authority approves international gas company’s acquisition of 100% stake in 2 local liquified natural gas joint ventures (Shell Gas / HLPL Hazira LNG / HPPL Hazira Port)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
Shell Gas B.V acquire 100% shares and sole control of HPPL and HLPL* CCI, by way of order dated 06.12.2018, approved the acquisition of (i)26% shares in Hazira LNG Private Limited (“HLPL”) and (ii) 26% shares in Hazira Port Private Limited (“HPPL”), by Shell Gas B.V (“Shell”) from Total Gas (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission finds that Gibraltar’s tax rulings favouring multinational companies are illegal under EU State aid rules (Gibraltar’s tax rulings)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission concludes Gibraltar gave around €100 million of illegal tax advantages to multinational companies* The European Commission has found that Gibraltar’s corporate tax exemption regime for interest and royalties, as well as five tax rulings, are illegal under EU State aid (...)

The EU Court of justice holds that a tax exemption may not constitute State aid if it is justified by reasons linked to the nature or general scheme of the tax system (Finanzamt B / A-Brauerei)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Commission approves under EU State aid rules reductions in renewable electricity and cogeneration surcharges for energy-intensive companies in Greece
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves reductions in renewable electricity and cogeneration surcharges for energy-intensive companies in Greece* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, reductions granted to energy-intensive companies on a surcharge to finance support for (...)

The EU Commission approves under EU State aid rules a Bavarian project to deploy very high capacity networks in six municipalities
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves Bavarian project for Gigabit broadband networks* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules a Bavarian project to deploy very high capacity networks in six municipalities. The aid will bring very fast broadband to customers in areas where the (...)

The EU Commission approves plan by France, Germany, Italy and the UK to give public support to joint research and innovation project in microelectronics
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves plan by France, Germany, Italy and the UK to give €1.75 billion public support to joint research and innovation project in microelectronics* The European Commission has found that an integrated project jointly notified by France, Germany, Italy and the UK for (...)

The EU Commission finds that a Romanian petrochemical company received around €335 million of incompatible aid (Oltchim)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Romania needs to recover incompatible aid from petrochemical company Oltchim* The European Commission has found that Romanian petrochemical company Oltchim received around €335 million of incompatible aid from Romania, since the company’s failed privatisation in September 2012. (...)

The EU General Court annuls a Commission decision which found that Slovakia did not grant incompatible state aid to a chemical company (AlzChem)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU General Court annuls a Commission decision holding that public funding to an operator in a closed sector does not affect trade and therefore does not constitute State aid (Scandlines Danmark / Stena Line)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU General Court holds that public funds managed by private airports operators can be classified as state ressources (Ryanair)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Articles published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original titles of the articles appear below the e-Competitions titles. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Commission authorizes Greece under EU State aid rules to extend by 20 years the concession for the operation of the Athens International Airport
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission finds no aid in €1.1 billion extension of Athens International Airport concession* The European Commission has authorised Greece, under EU State aid rules, to extend by 20 years the concession granted to AIA to operate Athens International Airport. The fee AIA will pay for (...)

The EU Commission approves under EU State aid rules a measure to promote shift of freight transport from road to rail in Germany
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €350 million per year in public funding to promote shift of freight transport from road to rail in Germany* The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules a German aid scheme to promote the shift of freight traffic from road to rail. The scheme will (...)

The EU Commission decides to refer Romania to the EU Court of Justice for failing to fully recover illegal State aid (Viorel / Ioan Micula)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission refers Romania to Court for failure to recover illegal aid worth up to €92 million* The European Commission has decided to refer Romania to the European Court of Justice for failing to fully recover illegal State aid worth up to €92 million from Viorel and Ioan Micula and (...)

The EU Commission finds a Cypriot State aid scheme for vulnerable households borrowers to be compatible with the internal market
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

Procedures

The Dutch Competition Authority publishes guidelines to clarify its simplified settlement procedure
Bird & Bird (The Hague)
Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) publishes guidelines to clarify simplified settlement procedure* On 21 December 2018, the Dutch Authority for Consumers & Markets (“ACM”) published (“Settlement Guidelines”) Such a procedure can be followed if the ACM intends to impose a fine and (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes a notice clarifying the settlement procedure in competition cases
Jones Day (Paris)
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Jones Day (Paris)
In December 2018, the French Competition Authority ("FCA") published a notice clarifying the FCA’s settlement procedure in competition cases ("Notice"). The FCA’s General Rapporteur may offer settlement to companies that agree not to challenge the allegations made against them in the statement of (...)

Morocco’s new competition regime enters into force
Norton Rose Fulbright (Paris)
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Norton Rose Fulbright (Paris)
Introduction More than four years after the enactment of the new competition laws of June 2014, the new Competition Council, institutional cornerstone of the new regime, is finally active since all its members were appointed on December 17, 2018. The long awaited new antitrust and merger (...)

The EU Court of Justice sets aside General Court judgments granting damages for excessively long judicial proceedings (Gascogne / Kendrion / Plasticos Españoles)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 13 December 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) delivered three judgments on separate appeals brought against judgments of the General Court (“GC”) by Gascogne Sack Deutschland (“Gascogne”), Kendrion and Plasticos Españoles (together with its parent company Armando Álvarez) in (...)

The EU Commission publishes guidelines to facilitate access to antitrust files
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 12 December 2018, the European Commission (“Commission”) published two new guidance documents facilitating access to the Commission’s files by undertakings subject to antitrust proceedings. These documents are part of the Commission’s efforts to increase the transparency of competition (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upholds dismissal of a class action against containerboard manufacturers for conspiring to increase prices and reduce output (Kleen Products / Georgia‐Pacific / West Rock CP)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Seventh Circuit Identifies Difficulties in Challenging* In a decision pondering the adequacy of the Sherman Act to protect consumers from consciously parallel conduct among oligopolists, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago upheld dismissal of a class action against containerboard (...)

The EU General Court confirms that competition liability may only exceptionally be attributed by the criterion of economic continuity (Coveris Rigid France)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
Adjudicating an appeal lodged by a cartelist that then divested its business in the Coveris case, the General Court of the EU (GC) held that the European Commission correctly grounded the competition liability of the appellant on the general principle of personal liability instead of the (...)

The EU General Court confirms that successor liability for EU competition law infringements may only exceptionally be based on economic continuity (Coveris Rigid France)
Baker Botts (Brussels)
In December 2018, the EU General Court (the “General Court”) dismissed the action for annulment lodged by Coveris Rigid France (“Coveris”) against a decision of the European Commission (the “Commission”) that held Coveris liable for its participation in the retail food packaging cartel. The judgment (...)

The Indian Supreme Court upholds Bombay High Court decision and clarifies jurisdiction between sectoral and competition regulator in telecommunications markets (Reliance Jio / Bharti Airtel / Idea Cellular / Vodafone India)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
Supreme Court clears the jurisdictional conflict between CCI & TRAI- dismisses CCI and Jio appeals* The Hon’ble Supreme Court by way of its judgement dated 05.12.2018 has finally cleared the uncertainty surrounding the jurisdiction of CCI and TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India). (...)

The EU Data Protection Supervisor, EU Commission, and EU Parliament clarify how data protection law applies to competition investigations
McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
The application of the GDPR from 5 May 2018 has had a significant impact on the way companies manage their data in various areas. In the field of competition, the GDPR might well cause companies that face competition investigations to wonder whether they should provide personal data in (...)

Regulatory

The Portuguese Competition Authority presents three recommendations to the Government and administrations to improve competition in the maritime ports sector
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
Ports: AdC presents three recommendations to the Government and administrations to improve competition in the sector * The Portuguese Competition Authority (Autoridade da Concorrência, AdC) recommends to the Government and port authorities the adoption of measures to promote competition in the (...)

The UK Competition Authority releases a market study in which it proposes reforms to improve competition in the audit sector
British Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA proposes reforms to improve competition in audit sector* Improvements to the independence and the quality of audits are the focus of the CMA’s market study update. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published an update paper outlining serious competition concerns and proposing (...)

The EU Parliament and Council adopt a directive to empower the competition authorities of the Member States to be more effective enforcers and to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market (ECN +)
McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
On 4 December 2018, the Council adopted the Directive 2019/1 to enable Member State competition authorities to be more effective enforcers (ECN+). This adoption followed an agreement reached with the European Parliament at first reading. In March 2017, the EC published a proposal for a new (...)

Public sector

The Hungarian Competition Authority fines four water welling companies for bid rigging (Vikuv Vízkutató és Fúró Zrt. / Aquazit Szolgáltató Kft. / Drillingwater Kft. és a Geo-Sivo Építőipari / Környezetvédelmi Tervező és Kivitelező Kft)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
Total fine of more than 100 million forints imposed on well drilling companies for participation in a cartel* The Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal, GVH) imposed fines amounting to a total of 105 million forints (0.33 million EUR) on four water welling companies for (...)

The City Court of Odense acquits construction companies in bid rigging case (Jorton / H. Skjøde Knudsen)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Denmark: City Court acquits construction companies in bid rigging case The City Court of Odense acquitted the construction companies Jorton A/S and H. Skjøde Knudsen A/S as well as three members of the management in a bid rigging case. On 12 December 2018, the City Court of Odense acquitted (...)

International

Spain: The Spanish Supreme Court confirms the right to be heard when there is a change in the legal qualification of the facts at the end of the infringement procedure, but only in case the change can result in the companies being otherwise defenseless (Maderas José Sainz)
Martinez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann (Madrid)
In five judgments issued in December 2018 and published in the first quarter of 2019, the Spanish Supreme Court confirmed the judgments of the Audiencia Nacional quashing the CNMC Wooden Pallets cartel decision. In September 2014 the Spanish Competition Authority (the “CNMC”) had fined 24 wooden (...)

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