February 2004

Anticompetitive practices

The Hungarian Competition Authority does not find RPM in the automobile sector to be anti-competitive due to low market shares of seller (MB-Autó)
DLA Piper (Budapest)
DLA Piper (Budapest)
Description of the impugned case The agreements by MB-Autó (the importer of Mercedes-Benz type motor vehicles in Hungary) with its dealers / distributors contained a clause whereby the delaers / distributors were obliged to request the written approval of MB-Autó to discounts provided to (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission imposes surcharges on participants in bidding for construction works (Oikawa Sangyo)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
JFTC surcharged participants in the bidding construction works called by Iwamizawa-city* The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) on 5 February, ordered 91 entrepreneurs to pay surcharge regarding the bid-riggings for construction works called by Iwamizawa City (Hokkaido Prefecture) based on (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission issues a consent decision concerning an anticompetitive bid rigging in the water meters market (Kimmon Manufacturing)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
Consent Decision on Kimmon Mfg. Co., Ltd* The Fair Trade Commission decided to initiate a hearing for Kimmon Mfg. Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “the Respondent”) on August 25, 2003. Since then the examiners had conducted the hearing, and on January 23, 2004, the Respondent proposed (...)


The Turkish Competition Authority cleared a merger in the nylon products markets subject to limitation of the duration of non-compete and confidentiality clauses (Invista / Koch-E.I. Dupont)
Esin (Istanbul)
The operation Invista is a company which is under the sole control of E.I. DuPont and is globally carrying out the fibers and intermediate goods businesses of E.I. DuPont. Invista was the biggest manufacturer of integrated fibers and intermediate goods in 2002. It has a subsidiary in Turkey. (...)

The Irish Competition Authority clears in phase II a merger in the market for radio broadcasting subject to remedies, including the divestment of an equity stake in a radio station and discontinuation of joint selling arrangements (Scottish Radio Holdings / FM 104)
World Economic Forum (Geneva)
The operation On 23 October 2004 the acquisition by Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) of Capital Radio Productions Limited (CRPL) was notified to the Irish Competition Authority (ICA). SRH is active in the radio and publishing business in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, where it owns (...)

The England & Wales Court of Appeal issues a judgment on the test to be applied by the Office of Fair Trading when deciding whether it must refer transactions to the Competition Commission for further competition review (IBA Health)
CMS Cameron McKenna (London)
CMS Cameron McKenna (London)
Outcome of IBA Health appeal* The Court of Appeal today gave its judgment in the hotly anticipated IBA Health case, which centres on the test to be applied by the Office of Fair Trading ("OFT") when deciding whether it must refer transactions to the Competition Commission ("CC") for further (...)

The French Minister of Economic Affairs conditionally clears a merger in the youth books market (Bayard/Milan)
Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) (Luxembourg)
The operation By letter dated 11 February 2004, the French Minister of Economic Affairs cleared a merger after a Phase I procedure where the Group Bayard Press acquired the publishing group Milan. Competition problems were raised for the reason that both Parties were active on the market of (...)

The French Supreme Aministrative Court rejects the Ministry of Economics’s application of the failing firm defence and annuls the authorisation of the intended merger between two home appliances manufacturers (SEB / Moulinex)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Paris)
Hewlett Packard (Geneva)
Background. When Moulinex was put into administration in 2001 competitor SEB submitted, amongst others, an offer to purchase Moulinex’ manufacturing sites and trading subsidiaries in France, Spain, Germany and several non-EU countries. SEB was conditionally retained by the judicial (...)

The UK Competition Commission partially clears an acquisition of freight and ferry assets but prohibits the acquisition of assets operating on some routes (Stena / P&O)
Serle Court (London)
The operation Stena AB comprises a number of business divisions, including: StenaLine, providing ferry services in and between Scandinavia, Great Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany and Poland; Stena RoRo providing ferry services to the transport industry; and Stena Bulk providing (...)

State Aid

The Energy Regulation Commission splits aid recovery between group companies according to the proportion of its funds (State aid recovery)
Sheppard Mullin (Brussels)
European Commission
Brief description of the facts and legal issues A French law of 1997 determined the ownership status of a high-voltage electricity network. As a result, the reserves previously built up by EDF (free of tax) over the period from 1987 to 1996 became superfluous. Some reserves were directly (...)

The Belgian Commercial Court of Kortrijk suspends proceedings of recovery of State aid pending CFI judgment is challenged by the EU Commission (Walloon Region / Ter Lembeek International)
Sheppard Mullin (Brussels)
Suez Environnement (Paris la Défense)
On 25 January 2006, the Commission decided to bring before the European Court of Jutsice (“ECJ”) an action against Belgium for failure to comply with a Commission’s decision declaring a State aid incompatible with the common market (see IP:). On 24 April 2002, the Commission had ruled that (...)

The EU Commission approves State aid in the banking sector (Bankgesellschaft Berlin)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
European Commission - DG ENER (Brussels)
"Enforcement of State aid control in the banking sector: Bankgesellschaft Berlin AG"* On 18 February 2004, following an extensive investigation, the Commission decided to approve the restructuring aid for the ailing group Bankgesellschaft Berlin AG worth almost € 10 billion. This amount (...)

The French Council of State dismisses syndicate’s claim without considering State aid issues (Syndicat national de l’industrie des viandes)
Sheppard Mullin (Brussels)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Brief description of the facts and legal issues Professional associations for the agricultural sector filed a claim, in summary proceedings, for the suspension ("référé-suspension") of a ministerial order ("arrêté") setting out different methods for implementing the tax. They argued, inter (...)

The French Supreme Administrative Court considers that a tax exemption for "private use" copyrights does not qualify as State aid (Syndicat des Industries de Matériels Audiovisuels Electroniques)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The French Intellectual Property Code (Code de la propriété intellectuelle), provides, inter alia, that intellectual property right holders benefit of copyright of “private copies”, i. e., copies by end-users for individual uses (“private use recording”). A dedicated Commission set the level (...)


The US Supreme Court holds that the US Postal Service is not a "person" under the antitrust laws, further limiting the role of antitrust in public and regulated industries (USPS / Flamingo)
University of Maryland (Baltimore)
USPS v. Flamingo Industries* In 2004, the US Supreme Court issued a decision in an antitrust case brought by Flamingo Industries against the United States Postal Service (USPS). Flamingo manufactured the sacks used by postal workers to hold the non-parcel mail that they carry and deliver to (...)


The European Commission adopts its first veto decision under the new regulatory framework for electronic communications (Ficora, TeliaSonera)
Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (Brussels)
Meta (San Francisco)
"Market analyses under the New Regulatory Framework for electronic communications: context and principles behind the Commission’s first veto decision"* 1. Introduction On 20 February 2004 the Commission took a decision requiring the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (Ficora)to (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on competition and regulation in the water sector
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
Key documents: Executive Summary with key findings, Detailled Summary of the discussion, Background note Executive summary, by the Secretariat In light of the written submissions, the background note and the oral discussion, the following points emerge: Inefficiency (1) Inefficiencies (...)