July 2000

Anticompetitive practices

The Italian Competition Authority declares the incompatibility of a national regulation with EC competition law when requiring or facilitating the market sharing within a consortium of manufacturers of matches (Consorzio Industrie Fiammiferi)
Ashurst (Brussels)
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Legance - Studio Legale Associato (Rome)
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Legance - Studio Legale Associato (Rome)
Background With decision n. 8491 of 13 July 2000, the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (Italian Competition Authority, hereinafter “Authority”) found the existence of a market sharing arrangement carried out within the Consorzio Industrie Fiammiferi (the consortium of the Italian (...)

The EU General Court confirms the Commission’s decision concerning infringements of article 81 TEC in a motor vehicle distribution case (Volkswagen)
DG COMP (Brussels)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
"Judgement by the Court of First Instance of 6 July 2000 concerning Commission Decision 98/273/Volkswagen of 28 January 1998"* History By decision of 28.1.1998, the Commission had imposed a record fine of € 102 million on Volkswagen AG, for having committed a very serious infringement of (...)

Unilateral Practices

The French Competition Authority rejects a request for interim measures on the movie theater market (UGCC)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Request for interim measures submitted by four film theatre operators* In a decision dated 25th July 2000, the Conseil de la concurrence examined the request for interim measures submitted by four film theatre operators : Cinevog, les Cinq Parnassiens, Studio du Dragon and MK2, concerning the (...)

Mergers

The European Commission adopts a notice on a simplified procedure for treatment of certain concentrations under the Merger Regulation
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 May 2000 and 31st August 2000"* In parallel to launching the merger review, the Commission adopted a Notice, which renders merger procedures more efficient already within the present legislative framework. The Notice is based on the experience (...)

The EU Commission conditionally clears a merger in the travel sector (Preussag / Thomson)
European External Action Service (Brussels)
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Financial Conduct Authority (London)
"Merger Control: main developments between 1st May 2000 and 31st August 2000"* The acquisition by German company Preussag AG of UK travel company Thomson Travel Group Plc raised serious concerns about the creation of a collective dominant position in the UK market for short-haul foreign (...)

The Czech Competition Authority amends its original merger clearance decision in the technical gases sector by accepting termination of the exclusivity of agreements instead of termination of the agreements (Linde/AGA Gas)
Clifford Chance (Prague)
The operation The merger concerned was a result of an operation, under which LINDE TECHNISCHE GASE (Germany) acquired 99,5 % shares over a Swedish company AGA AB. LINDE TECHNISCHE GASE was a 100 % shareholder of its Czech subsidiary, LINDE TECHNOPLYN a.s. ("LINDE"). AGA AB operated in the (...)

The EU Commission conditionally approves the creation of an Internet portal joint-venture (Vizzavi / Vodafone / Vivendi / Canal Plus)
European External Action Service (Brussels)
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Financial Conduct Authority (London)
"Merger Control: main developments between 1st May 2000 and 31st August 2000"* Regulatory clearance for the creation of the Vizzavi Internet portal joint venture between Vodafone, Vivendi and Canal+ was made possible after the companies submitted commitments to ensure rival Internet portals (...)

The EU Commission approves, subject to remedies, the acquisition of US beverage can producer by UK-based consumer packaging group (Rexam / American National Can)
European External Action Service (Brussels)
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Financial Conduct Authority (London)
"Merger Control: main developments between 1st May 2000 and 31st August 2000"* The proposed acquisition of beverage can producer American National Can by UK-based Rexam Plc, a consumer packaging group raised some concerns as to the creation of dominant positions in two regional geographic (...)

The European Commission clears an acquisition in the markets for production and sale of power cables to energy utilities (Pirelli / BICC)
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 May 2000 and 31st August 2000"* The Commission cleared the acquisition by Pirelli Cavi e Sistemi, the cable division of Italian Pirelli Group, of BICC General‘s power cable production plants in Italy and in Britain. BICC General will retain its (...)

The European Commission fines a company other than a notifying party in merger proceedings for the first time (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries)
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 May 2000 and 31st August 2000"* The Commission has imposed fines on Mitsubishi Heavy Industriesfor failing to supply information with regard to a joint venture last year between Kvaerner and Ahlström. This is the first time the Commission has fined (...)

The EU Commission approves, subject to remedies, the acquisition of a Norwegian chemicals and explosives company by a venture capital group (Industri Kapital / Dyno)
European External Action Service (Brussels)
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Financial Conduct Authority (London)
"Merger Control: main developments between 1st May 2000 and 31st August 2000"* The acquisition of Norwegian chemicals and explosives company Dyno by venture capital group Industri Kapital was approved following a four month, in-depth inquiry, subject to the divestiture by Industri Kapital of (...)

The French Minister of Economics clears a merger in the retail sector following EU Commission’s referral subject to 34 stores divestment (Carrefour / Promodes)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The operation Following the notification of the merger between Carrefour and Promodès, on 5 October 1999, the European Commission concluded, with regard to the supply market, that the operation was compatible with the Common Market, subject to the commitments given by Carrefour. At the French (...)

The Czech Competition Authority clears a merger of four entities in the gas sector, subject to a behavioural remedy (Prague Municipality / RWE / Ruhrgas / PP)
Clifford Chance (Prague)
The operation The proposal submitted by the parties contained description of the operation. However, many substantial aspects of the transactions remain undisclosed being a business secret. According to the available information, Prague Municipality ("PM"), RWE Energie Aktiengesellschaft (...)

The Czech Competition Authority clears a merger in the electricity sector in phase II, subject to the parties refraining from efforts to gain sole control over energy distributors (Prague municipality / RWE / GESO / PR)
Clifford Chance (Prague)
The operation The proposal submitted by the parties contained description of the operation. However, many substantial aspects of the transactions remain undisclosed as a commercial secret. According to the available information, Prague Municipality ("PM"), RWE Energie Aktiengesellschaft (...)

State Aid

The French Council of State ignores State aid based claim and rules that the legality of administrative notices cannot be contested by individuals (Confédération française de la boucherie)
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton (Brussels)
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European Commission (Brussels)
Brief description of the facts and legal issues The Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Industry published an administrative notice ("instruction") merely mentioning the provisions of the law. The legality of this notice was challenged. Summary of the Court’s findings According to (...)

The EU Commission investigates aid granted by the UK government in a venture capital fund located in northern Ireland (Viridian Growth Fund)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"United Kingdom – Commission investigates aid involved in the Viridian Growth Fund, a venture capital fund located in Northern Ireland"* On 26 July, the Commission decided to open the Article 88(2) EC procedure regarding aid involved in a new venture capital fund in Northern Ireland called the (...)

The EU Commission approves State aid granted by Sweden to improve the indoor environment in buildings for reasons of public health
DG COMP (Brussels)
"Sweden – Commission approves State aid to improve the indoor environment in buildings for reasons of public health"* On 12 July 2000 the Commission decided to close the Article 88(2) procedure with a positive decision in respect of an aid scheme intended to reduce the presence of allergenic (...)

The EU Commission authorizes state aid for private investors of a high technology fund for risk capital investments into early stage UK enterprises (High Technology Fund)
DG COMP (Brussels)
"United Kigdom – The Commission authorizes aid for private investors participating in the creation of the High Technology Fund which is aimed at encourage risk capital investments for early stage enterprises in high technology sectors"* On 12 July, the European Commission authorised the (...)

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