July 1999

Anticompetitive practices

The EU Court of Justice holds that the Commission does not have to prove the existence of an agreement as well as a concerted practice regarding a cartel in the chemical industry (Anic)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Case C-49/92 P Commission of the European Communities v Anic Partecipazioni SpA* 1. Given the nature of the infringements of the Community competition rules in question and the nature and degree of severity of the ensuing penalties, responsibility for committing those infringements is (...)

The EU Court of Justice holds that a concerted practice can have the object of restricting competition even in the absence of an anti-competitive effect on the market (Hüls)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Case C-199/92 P Hüls AG v Commission of the European Communities * 1. The fact that the Court has, by a previous order, given a person leave to intervene in support of the form of order sought by a party does not preclude a fresh examination of the admissibility of the intervention. 2. (...)

Unilateral Practices

The EU Commission issues a formal legal decision against the local organisers of the 1998 football World Cup finals tournament in France, following its implementation of discriminatory sales arrangements in relation to entry tickets for finals matches (Comité Français d’Organisation de la Coupe du Monde de Football 1998)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Commission takes action against the local organisers of the 1998 football World Cup finals competition in France.* Commission takes action against the local organisers of the 1998 football World Cup finals competition in France. The European Commission has issued a formal legal decision (...)

The EU Commission closes its probe into major EU airlines’ incentive schemes for travel agents (Virgin / BA / KLM)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Commission closes probe into major EU airlines’ incentive schemes for travel agents"* The Commission has recently closed its investigations into the incentive schemes for travel agents operated by several EU airlines. It had to ascertain that these incentive schemes were not used by dominant (...)

The EU Commission sets out its policy on commissions paid by airlines to travel agents (Virgin / British Airways)
National Shared Services Office (Dublin)
"Commission sets out its policy on commissions paid by airlines to travel agents"* The European Commission is investigating a series of complaints it has received in relation to commissions paid by airlines to travel agents. These complaints concern a possible abuse of a dominant position by (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission approves a joint venture between British and US telecommunications operators after examining possible coordinated effects (British Telecom / AT&T)
European Commission - DG TRADE (Brussels)
"Mergers: Recent developments and important decisions"* In BT/AT&T the Commission investigated possible coordination effects of the proposed joint venture between British telecom and the US company AT&T. BT is currently the fifth biggest telecommunications operator. Its principal (...)

The Lithuanian State Competition and Consumers’ Rights Protection Authority clears a merger in the retail stores market with remedies, including commitments not to set prices or limit alternative supplies (Aibë stores)
Amazon (Singapore)
The operation By a letter dated 16 July 1999, the State Competition and Consumers Rights’ Protection Authority authorized establishment of Aibë chain of retail stores. UAB Aibës maþmena («Aibës maþmena») decided to establish a chain of retail stores Aibë by concluding contracts with retail companies (...)

The Dutch NCA cleared a merger in the sector of milk with divestment remedy (FCDF - De Kievit)
Booking.com
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Bahl & Co (Amsterdam)
The operation FCDF (Friesland Coberco Dairy Foods Group) is the fifth largest dairy distributor in the world and De Kievit is a dairy farm. FCDF proposed acquiring the whole of De Kievit’s issued share capital (para. 10). The market(s) The NMa assessed the effects of the merger in relation to (...)

State Aid

The French Administrative Supreme Court rules that the mere fact an undertaking may benefit from State aid can not interfere with the regularity of a tendering procedure (Bouygues)
University of Aix-Marseille
The French administrative supreme Court had already ruled in the Société Générale case (French Administrative Supreme Court (Conseil d’État, Assemblée), 18 December 1998, Société Générale, Banque Nationale de Paris, Crédit Commercial de France v. Ministre de l’économie, des finances et de l’industrie, Case (...)

The EU Commission approves restructuring aid granted by the German Government in favor of heavy machinery manufacturer (SKET Maschinen- und Anlagenbau / Saxony-Anhalt)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Germany – Commission approves restructuring aid to SKET Maschinen- und Anlagenbau GmbH, Saxony-Anhalt"* By decision of 21 July 1999, the European Commission decided to approve restructuring aid in the amount of DM 57,800,000 (some 29.5 million EURO) to SKET Maschinen- und Anlagenbau GmbH, (...)

The EU Commission decides that restructuring aid granted by Germany in favor of textile company is incompatible with the common market (Lautex)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Germany - Commission decides aid to Lautex GmbH Weberei und Veredelung (Saxony) intended for restructuring to be incompatible with the common market"* In July 1999, the Commission ruled that restructuring aid of around DM 120 M (some € 61 M) to Lautex was incompatible with the common market. (...)

The EU Commission prohibits State aid in favor of certain Dutch service stations
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"The Netherlands – Commission prohibits State aid in favour of certain Dutch service stations"* On July 20th 1999, the European Commission decided to declare incompatible the aid in favour of 450 service stations located nearby the border to Germany out of a total of 633 stations which benefit (...)

The EU Commission opens a 88 § 2 procedure into aid in favor of the producers of energy from renewable sources resulting from the impact of a new electricity tax in Germany (Stromeinspeisungsgesetz)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Germany - Commission opens the 88 § 2 procedure into aid in favour of the producers of energy from renewable sources resulting of the impact of a new electricity tax on Grid Feed-In Law (Stromeinspeisungsgesetz)"* On 20 July 1999, the Commission decided to initiate a state aid investigation (...)

The EU Commission approves aid granted by the Netherlands in favor of a long-term research program conducted by an oil and chemicals company (Shell Chemicals)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"The Netherlands – Commission approved aid to a long-term research programme at Shell Chemicals"* In July 1999, the European Commission has approved aid up to 11.3 million Euro (NLG 25m) to stimulate a long-term research programme at Shell Chemicals BV expected to cost up to 30 million Euro (...)

The EU Commission adopts new guidelines on rescue and restructuring aid to firms in difficulty
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Commission adopts new guidelines on rescue and restructuring aid to firms in difficulty"* On 8 July the Commission adopted revised guidelines for state aid granted to rescue and restructure firms in difficulty. The new text represents in several respects a tightening of the rules, in line (...)

Procedures

The EU Court of First Instance rejects an appeal stating that the Commission had breached the right to be heard and the principle of legal certainty in a case related to the exclusive right to broadcast television advertising (Vlaamse Televisie Maatschappij)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Case T-266/97 Vlaamse Televisie Maatschappij NV v Commission of the European Communities* 1. Article 90(3) of the Treaty (now Article 86(3) EC) empowers the Commission to determine, by a decision, that a given State measure is incompatible with the rules of the Treaty and to indicate what (...)

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