February 2019

Anticompetitive practices

The Romanian Competition Authority fines six undertakings for an anticompetitive agreement in the market of maintenance services required for ship equipment (Japan Radio / Alphatron Marine / Space Electronics / Alhoutyam / Navtron / Polar Denizcilikve Deniz Malzemeleri)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council sanctioned with 2 million euro six companies for anticompetitive agreements* The Competition Council sanctioned with fines totalling 9,002,621.75 lei (approx. 2 million Euro) for an anti-competitive agreement aiming at the limitation of marketing of the maintenance (...)

The German Competition Authority fines a bicycle wholesaler for vertical price-fixing (ZEG)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Fine imposed on bicycle wholesaler ZEG for vertical price-fixing* The Bundeskartellamt has imposed fines totalling around 13.4 million euros on the bicycle wholesaler ZEG Zweirad-Einkaufs-Genossenschaft eG (ZEG), Cologne, and its representatives for fixing prices with 47 bicycle retailers. The (...)

The EU Commission issues a Report on Competition enforcement in the pharmaceutical sector covering the years 2009-2017
DG COMP (Brussels)
Report on Competition enforcement in the pharmaceutical sector (2009-2017)* On 28 January 2019, the European Commission adopted the Report ‘European competition authorities working together for affordable and innovative medicines’ on competition enforcement in the pharmaceutical sector. The (...)

The EU Commission fines a credit card company for obstructing merchants’ access to cross-border card payment services (Mastercard II)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Mastercard €570 million for obstructing merchants’ access to cross-border card payment services* The European Commission has fined the card scheme Mastercard €570 566 000 for limiting the possibility for merchants to benefit from better conditions offered by banks (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority fines three companies on the wood market for bid-rigging (Forestar / Nico Paul / Saniral)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council sanctioned three companies on wood market for rigging the bid* The Competition Council sanctioned three companies with fines totalling lei 2,315,077 (about 497,866 Euro) for rigging the bid conducted by Romsilva through the Neamt Forestry Department for the exploitation (...)

The German Competition Authority in cooperation with the Austrian Competition Authority opens a formal proceeding against a search engine company suspected to have concluded anticompetitive agreements (Google)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Proceeding against whitelisting contract between Google and Eyeo terminated after amendments to the contract* In cooperation with the Austrian competition authority (BWB) the Bundeskartellamt conducted an administrative proceeding against the companies Google Inc., Mountain View/USA and Eyeo (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority fines 13 tourism agencies and the National Associations of Tourism Agencies for coordinating behavior (ANAT)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council sanctioned 13 tourism agencies and Anat with fines of €2,45 million* The Competition Council sanctioned 13 tourism agencies and the National Associations of Tourism Agencies (ANAT) with total fines of 11.419.539.35 Lei (approximately €2,45 million) for coordinating (...)

The French Competition Authority carries out unannounced inspections in the luxury watch retail sector
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Dawn raids* The General Rapporteur of the Autorité de la concurrence indicates that unannounced inspections have been carried out in the luxury watch retail sector Following authorisation from the liberty and custody judge, the investigation services of the Autorité de la concurrence have (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority fines a phone company for abuse of dominance (Orange Romania)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council sanctioned Orange Romania with fines of €14 million* The Competition Council sanctioned Orange Romania with fines of 64.915.183 Lei (approximately €14 MILLION) for abuse of a dominant position. The Competition Authority found that, in 2011-2015, the telephone operator (...)

The South African Competition Tribunal dismisses a cartel complaint in power cables market despite settlements by other respondents (Tulisa Cables / Alvern Cables / South Ocean Electric Wire Company / Abedare Cables)
Primerio (Washington)
South Africa: Competition Tribunal dismisses cartel complaint despite settlements by other respondents* On 15 January 2019, the South African Competition Tribunal (“Tribunal”) dismissed the Competition Commission’s (“Commission”) cartel complaint against Tulisa Cables. Tulisa Cables was one of four (...)

The Polish Competition Authority fines two transport companies for allocating the local passenger transport market between themselves (PKS / Rafbus)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Prohibited market allocation scheme in the passenger transport* Two undertakings allocated the local passenger transport market between themselves. The initiator of the agreement was PKS in Piła. A fine of more than PLN 95,000 was imposed on the company for the infringement of competition. The (...)

The Italian Council of State confirms that the Italian Competition Authority wrongly established a bid rigging practice in the medical sector (Alliance / Siemens / Philips / Toshiba / AGCM)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
By its recent judgment in Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scanners (MRI Scanners) the Italian Council of State uphold on appeal the judgement previously handed down by the Regional Administrative Court of Latium (TAR Latium). The TAR Latium set aside a decision made by the Italian Competition (...)

The City Court of Hillerød fines two members of the management of a now dissolved demolition company for bid rigging
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Denmark: Two members of the management in now dissolved demolition company fined DKK 300.000 each in bid rigging case* The City Court of Hillerød has fined two members of the management in a now dissolved demolition company for infringing the Danish Competition Act by bid rigging. The City (...)

The Danish Competition Appeal Tribunal confirms fines imposed to members of an association of camera distributors for participating in anticompetitive agreements
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Anti-competitive agreement/decision in an association of camera distributors* The Danish Competition Appeal Tribunal has upheld a decision taken by the Danish Competition Council (DCC) that a horizontal cooperation agreement/decision among more than 50 independent camera distributors, who are (...)

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 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 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 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 Irish Competition Authority opens a civil competition law investigation against a professional association of restaurants suspected to coordinate the conduct of its members (Restaurants Association of Ireland)
Irish Competition Authority (Dublin)
CCPC examines potential anti-competitive conduct by the Restaurants Association of Ireland* The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has commenced a civil competition law investigation into the conduct of the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI). The investigation follows (...)

The UK Competition Authority issues a study into pricing algorithms in order to identify whether they could be used to support illegal practices
British Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Algorithm research builds on work in digital markets* The CMA has published a study into pricing algorithms and whether they could be used to support illegal practices. The research increases the CMA’s expertise at a time of widespread scrutiny of pricing algorithms and how they interact with (...)

The Slovak Competition Authority fines companies for bid-rigging in the construction sector (Drienovecké / Drienovec)
Slovak Competition Authority
CARTELS: AMO SR imposed fines for cartel agreement between undertakings in the field of constructing industry* On 5 October 2018 the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic, the Division of Cartels, (hereafter "the Office") issued a decision imposing fines totalling EUR 307 546 on the (...)

Unilateral Practices

The German Competition Authority prohibits a social network company in dominant position from combining its user data from different sources (Facebook)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt / Digital Economy Bundeskartellamt prohibits Facebook from combining user data from different sources* Bonn, 7 February 2019: The Bundeskartellamt has imposed on Facebook far-reaching restrictions in the processing of user data. According to Facebook’s terms and conditions (...)

The French Competition Authority orders interim measures against a search engine company in the online advertising market (Google)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Online advertising by directory enquiry services* The Autorité de la concurrence has ordered interim measures against Google. Google will need to quickly clarify the rules for its Google Ads online advertising platform that apply to electronic paid information services in order to make them (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes interim measures on a broadcaster in order to ensure the continuity of the FM broadcasts in execution of its public service mission (Norkring)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Competition College of the BCA imposed an interim measure on Norkring België* On 22 January 2019, the Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) imposed an interim measure on NV Norkring België (Norkring) in order to ensure the continuity of the FM broadcasts of VRT in (...)

The South African Competition Tribunal fines an undertaking in the ticketing services market for abuse of dominance (Computicket)
Nortons (Johannesburg)
South Africa: Competition Tribunal Fines Computicket For Abusing Its Dominance* On 21 January 2019, the South African Competition Tribunal (Tribunal), ruled in favour of the South African Competition Commission (SACC) who prosecuted Computicket (Pty) Ltd. (Computicket) for abuse of dominance (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority opens an investigation against a gas distributor suspected of abuse of dominance (Delgaz Grid)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council opened an investigation on a possible abuse of dominant position of Delgaz Grid SA* The Competition Council opened an investigation on a possible abuse of dominant position of Delgaz Grid SA, a member of E.ON Romania Group, manifested through a differentiated treatment (...)

Mergers

The Mexican Competition Authority clears a merger in the entertainment industry subject to structural remedies (Disney / Fox)
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
Clarification on Disney/Fox transaction* Mexico City, February 6, 2019.- In August 2018, the Walt Disney Company (Disney) and Twenty-First Century Fox (Fox) notified, both the Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE or Commission) and the Federal Institute for Telecommunications (...)

The EU Commission prohibits a merger in the market of railway signalling systems and very high-speed trains (Siemens / Alstom)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission prohibits Siemens’ proposed acquisition of Alstom* The European Commission has prohibited Siemens’ proposed acquisition of Alstom under the EU Merger Regulation. The merger would have harmed competition in markets for railway signalling systems and very high-speed trains. The (...)

The EU Commission prohibits a merger in the rolled copper products market (Wieland / Aurubis / Schwermetall)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission prohibits Wieland’s proposed acquisition of Aurubis Rolled Products and Schwermetall* The European Commission has prohibited, under the EU Merger Regulation, Wieland’s proposed acquisition of Aurubis Rolled Products and Aurubis’ stake in Schwermetall. It had serious concerns (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger by approving in advance remedies that ended competition issues in the market of fabrication and marketing of baking aids (Alsa / Dr. Oetker)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Confection and marketing of baking aids* The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of Alsa by Dr. Oetker (Ancel) by approving a commitment which addresses in advance competition issues (“fix-it-first” commitment), by granting a credible market player a license for the Ancel brand On (...)

The US FTC conditionally approves a merger in the office supply market subject to behavioural remedies (Staples / Essendant)
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
THE LATEST: FTC Allows Problematic Vertical Merger to Proceed with a Behavioral Remedy* On January 28, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it had accepted a proposed settlement with office supply distributors Staples and Essendant in connection with Staples’ proposed $482.7 (...)

The UK Competition Authority imposes structural remedies concerning a merger in the washroom suppliers market (Rentokil Initial / Cannon Hygiene)
British Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA orders sale of customer contracts in washroom suppliers’ merger* Rentokil Initial must sell several large supply contracts to satisfy CMA concerns over its merger with Cannon Hygiene. The decision by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) comes after an in-depth Phase 2 investigation (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority fines a company for infringement of the merger regulatory framework (MM Grupp)
Konkurences padome (Riga)
​The CC imposes a fine on OÜ “MM Grupp” for infringement of merger regulatory framework* On 18 January, the Competition Council of Latvia (the CC) imposed a fine of 32,200 euros on OÜ “MM Grupp”, a company registered in Estonia, which is the owner of the Latvian news agency SIA “LETA”. During the (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority fines a company operating in the retail market of IT products, home appliances and marketing via e-commerce platforms for gun jumping (Corsar Online)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council sanctioned Corsar Online Srl with fines of 1.6 million lei * The Competition Council sanctioned the company Corsar Online SRL with fines of approximately 1.6 million lei for the implementation of a merger before being authorized by the Competition Authority. In the (...)

The German Competition Authority prohibits a merger in the bearing production sector (Miba / Zollern)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt prohibits merger between Miba and Zollern in bearing production sector* The Bundeskartellamt has prohibited the launch of a joint venture between Miba AG, Laakirchen (Austria), and Zollern GmbH & Co. KG, Sigmaringen. The companies had planned to pool their hydrodynamic (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority clears a merger subject to remedies in the market for outsourced internal logistics services (Suomen Transval Group / Posti Group)
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Helsinki)
The FCCA approves Posti’s acquisition of Transval, subject to conditions* Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) has approved, subject to conditions, the acquisition of Suomen Transval Group Oy by Posti Group Oyj. A condition for the approval of the acquisition was that Posti (...)

The EU Court of Justice upholds the General Court’s ruling that annulled the Commission’s decision prohibiting a merger in the parcel delivery market (UPS / TNT)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 19 January 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) upheld on due process grounds the 2017 judgment of the General Court (“GC”) annulling the decision of the European Commission (“Commission”) in the UPS/TNT Express merger (Case C-265/17P, Commission v. United Parcel Service). The (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses the Commission’s appeal against the annulment of its decision to prohibit a merger in the parcel delivery market (UPS / TNT)
White & Case (Brussels)
,
White & Case (Brussels)
EU Court confirms the need for transparency and full disclosure of economic analyses in EU merger cases (UPS/TNT)* On 16 January 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU” or “Court”) dismissed the European Commission’s appeal against the annulment of its decision to prohibit the (...)

The UK Competition and Markets Authority issues Guidance on requests for internal documents in merger investigations
White & Case (London)
,
White & Case (Brussels)
Competition authorities around the world typically place considerable weight on parties’ internal documents when assessing the potential effects of a merger. Such documents, many of which can pre-date the companies’ decision to enter into a transaction, are often regarded as conveying the merging (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority releases its Mergers and Acquisitions Overview Report for 2018
ACTECON (Istanbul)
,
Boğaziçi University (Istanbul)
The TCA published its Mergers and Acquisitions Overview Report 2018 (’Report’) on its website on 9 January 2019. The Report provides information on the Turkish merger control system and makes comparisons between past years and 2018, as well as between Turkish and foreign investments. The Report (...)

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 UK Competition Authority imposes structural remedies to clear a merger in the market of the supply of managed laundry services (JLA / Washstation)
British Competition Authority - CMA (London)
University laundry merger broken up by CMA* The CMA has decided that JLA must sell Washstation to preserve competition in the supply of managed laundry services to higher education providers. The decision by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) comes following an in-depth investigation (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission approves a Polish investment aid to an electric vehicles batteries plant (LG Chem)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €36 million Polish investment aid to LG Chem’s electric vehicles batteries plant* The European Commission has found Poland’s €36 million investment aid to chemical company LG Chem for a new electric vehicle batteries plant in the Dolnoślaskie region to be in line with (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into tax treatment of an American multinational company in the Netherlands (Nike)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into tax treatment of Nike in the Netherlands* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to examine whether tax rulings granted by the Netherlands to Nike may have given the company an unfair advantage over its competitors, (...)

The EU Commission plans on prolonging for two years seven sets of State aid rules expiring in 2020 and launches an evaluation
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission to prolong EU State aid rules and launch evaluation* The European Commission plans to prolong for two years seven sets of State aid rules, otherwise expiring in 2020. The Commission has also launched today an evaluation of those rules and of other State aid rules to (...)

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 General Court holds that a change in the method of funding public broadcasting does not constitute an alteration of an existing aid measure that would require notification to the Commission (Stichting Woonlinie / Stichting Woonpunt)
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 French Competition Authority welcomes the publication of the ECN + directive to empower the competition authorities of the Member States to be more effective enforcers
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Publication of the ECN + directive: a new step for the European competition policy* The Autorité welcomes the publication of the ECN + directive to empower the competition authorities of the Member States to be more effective enforcers. Background Directive n° (UE) 2019/1 to empower the (...)

Regulatory

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion in favour of extending ex-ante regulation of the upstream wholesale digital terrestrial television broadcasting services market by three years
French Competition Authority (Paris)
DTT Broadcasting* The Autorité de la concurrence is in favour of extending ex-ante regulation of the upstream wholesale DTT broadcasting services market by three years. Background Following a referral by the French Telecommunications Regulator (ARCEP), the Autorité de la concurrence today (...)

The EU Commission hosts a conference to address the challenges of digitization for competition policy
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
,
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
“Shaping Competition Policy in the era of digitization”: The European Commission hosts a conference with academic and business leaders to address the challenges of digitization for competition policy. On 17 January 2019, the European Commission hosted an experts conference to address the (...)

The French Competition Authority announces its priorities for 2019
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence announces its priorities for 2019* The Autorité has defined several priority actions for 2019. Further, it has committed to an extensive strategic review exercise of its legal framework and methods of operation. SECTORS AND LINES OF ACTION Digital sector The (...)

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 issues 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 (...)

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