June 2016

Anticompetitive practices

The Spanish Competition Authority fines 8 companies, and 9 of their executives, for involvement in a cartel and bid rigging in the public procurement process on the national railway market (Infraestructuras Ferroviarias)
European Commission (Brussels)
The CNMC fines four companies and nine of their executives € 5.64 million for dividing up the awards for supplying ADIF with rail turnouts* The CNMC fined € 5.58 million Amurrio Ferrocarril y Equipos, S.A, Jez Sistemas Ferroviarios, S.L., Talleres Alegría, S.A. and Duro Felguera Rail, S.A.U for a (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority ends its investigation concerning real estate agents
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
Real estate agents completely free in setting tariffs when selling real estate* The Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) ends its investigation against the Professional Institute for real estate agents (BIV). Extensive research has shown that real estate agents are completely free in setting (...)

The German Competition Authority declares certain online banking rules violate European and German competition law (German Banking Industry Committee)
European Commission (Brussels)
Restriction of online payment services by German banking industry in violation of competition law* The Bundeskartellamt has declared certain rules in the online banking conditions of the German Banking Industry Committee (Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft) as illegal. The authority holds the view that (...)

The Indian Competition Authority clarifies that mere collusion or coordination is not enough to hold the Parties in contravention of the provisions of the Competition Act (Ruchi Soya Industries / Betul Oils / Ganganagar Commodity)
Vaish Associates (New Delhi)
CCI: Mere collusion or coordination is not enough to hold the Parties in contravention of the provisions of the Competition Act* The CCI, by way of its order dated June 28, 2016 held that M/s Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd., M/s Betul Oils Ltd and M/s Ganganagar Commodity Ltd. were not in (...)

The EU General Court endorses strict approach to ancillary restraints (Portugal Telecom and Telefónica)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Portugal Telecom and Telefonica cases – Non-compete clauses: General Court endorses strict approach to ancillary restraints Non-compete clauses are standard practice in the context of the acquisition of a business to protect a purchaser’s investment. They guarantee the transfer to the purchaser (...)

The US Supreme Court to review US Court of Appeals decision on standing in antitrust cases (Visa / Mastercard)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Supreme Court Agrees to Consider Sufficiency of Antitrust Conspiracy Allegations in the Context of Business Associations*Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court wrapped up its regular business for the October 2015 term, but not before deciding to put an antitrust case on the docket for the next term. (...)

The German Competition Authority issues its annual report for 2015
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
2015 Annual Report of the Bundeskartellamt* Today, the President of the Bundeskartellamt, Andreas Mundt, presented the authority’s annual report for 2015. Digital economy New digital products and business models have created new challenges for competition policy and competition law (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on commitment decisions in antitrust cases
OECD - Competition Division
Executive summary, by the Secretariat* Considering the discussion at the roundtable on commitment decisions in non-merger cases, held by the Competition Committee on 17 June 2016, the Secretariat’s background paper, the delegates’ written submissions and presentations by the speakers, several (...)

The Indian Competition Authority opens investigation into anticompetitive conduct by agricultural seed manufacturers (Kaveri Seed / Mahyco Monsanto Biotech / Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds)
Vaish Associates (New Delhi)
CCI to investigate Monsanto Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (I) Limited & Ors.* The CCI, by way of its order dated June 9, 2016, directed the Director General (‘DG’) to investigate Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (I) Limited, Monsanto Holdings Private Ltd., Monsanto Inc., U.S.A. and Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds (...)

The EU Court of Justice holds that the Commission is entitled to refer to the last business year that corresponds to a full year of normal activity to calculate the fine (Pre-stressing steel cartel)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Under Article 23(2) of the Regulation on the Implementation of the Rules on Competition, a fine imposed for competi- tion law infringements should not exceed 10 percent of the undertaking’s total turnover in the business year preceding the decision in which the Commission imposes the fine. In (...)

Unilateral Practices

The EU Commission opens a formal investigation concerning a potential abuse of dominance on Belgian beer market (AB InBev)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens formal investigation into AB InBev’s practices on Belgian beer market* The European Commission has opened an investigation, on its own initiative, to assess whether Anheuser-Busch InBev SA (AB InBev) has abused its dominant position on the Belgian beer market by (...)

The Spanish competition authority fines car-wash equipment maker €638,770 for denial of parts and data to independent repairers (Istobal)
Baker McKenzie (Madrid)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
,
Baker McKenzie (Brussels)
The Spanish authority fined car-wash equipment maker Istobal €638,770 (2% of its Spanish revenue) for denial of parts and data to independent repairers. Though providing repair/maintenance services itself and via appointed third party service providers (each allocated to specific territories in (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a supplier of rolled zinc for abuse of dominance (UMICORE)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence fines UMICORE, one of the global leaders in zinc, €69 million for abuse of dominant position towards its competitors by practicing during 9 years a trade policy aiming at constraining its distributors to supply themselves exclusively from the company.* In brief (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority renders legally binding the commitments offered by a food retailer (Dia)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
The PCA adopts a decision which renders legally binding the commitments offered by Dia Portugal related to Minipreço franchise* The Portuguese Competition Authority (PCA) adopted a decision which renders legally binding the commitments offered by Dia Portugal Supermercados, Sociedade (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on fidelity rebates and competition
OECD - Competition Division
Executive summary, by the Secretariat * From the discussion at the hearing, the delegates’ and experts’ written submissions, several key points emerged: 1. Fidelity rebates or loyalty discount schemes are widely used and are often beneficial for consumers. Rebates based on quantity, and in some (...)

The Swedish District Court finds that abuse of dominance by airport in the imposition of a special charge over taxi companies was objectively justified (Swedavia)
Vinge (Stockholm)
Taxi case reaches final destination*The Swedish Competition Authority has lost its court case against Swedavia, the owner of Stockholm Arlanda Airport, for alleged abuse of dominance. The District Court has found that while there was an abuse of dominance, it was objectively justified and (...)

The German Competition Authority issues a working paper on the market power of platforms and networks
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt publishes working paper on "Market Power of Platforms and Networks"* The Bundeskartellamt has today published a working paper which deals with the "Market Power of Platforms and Networks" in the Internet. The report focuses on the factors relevant for assessing the market (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority pursues the monitoring of the online booking market after closing its sector inquiry
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The GVH continues to monitor the hotel booking market after closing its sectoral inquiry* The Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal, GVH) prepared its report on its sectoral inquiry on the online accommodation booking market. Due to the positive changes that took place on (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a company for abuse of dominance in the Hertzian broadcasting market (Itas Tim / TDF)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
DTT broadcasting* The Autorité de la concurrence fines TDF 20.6 million Euros for abusive intervention with the municipalities aimed at hindering the establishment of its competitors. Besides, the Autorité has fined a loyalty rebate system encouraging TV channels to use TDF’s services for most (...)

Mergers

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the real estate sector (Foncière de Paris / Gecina)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of Foncière de Paris by Gecina* The Gecina company has notified on 26 May 2016 its intention to acquire the Foncière de Paris company. Gecina is a real estate investment company listed on Euronext Paris’ Eurolist. It operates in the ownership (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority clears, subject to remedies, a merger on the market for the provision of stevedoring and storage of domestic containerized cargo services (Cosco / Piraeus Port Authority)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
Clearance of the proposed acquisition by COSCO (HONG KONG) GROUP LIMITED of sole control over PIRAEUS PORT AUTHORITY S.A. subject to conditions* The Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) has cleared today the notified concentration between PIRAEUS PORT AUTHORITY S.A. (PPA S.A.) and COSCO (HONG (...)

The Turkish Competition Board authorizes several mergers in the fast-moving consumer goods market (Migros)
Erdem & Erdem (Istanbul)
The FMCG Sector The fast-moving consumer goods (“FMCG”) sector is one of the largest industries worldwide. The FMCG retail is an indispensable part of the product distribution chain, and it plays a key role in price-making and the producers’ reaching the final consumer in all steps of the retail (...)

The US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division denies preliminary injunction on the basis that geographic market analysis was erroneous in a hospital merger case (Advocate Health / NorthShore)
Constantine Cannon (Washington)
Geographic market definition trips up FTC as Federal Court rejects challenge to Advocate-NorthShore Hospital merger*The loss of the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) in a hospital merger case in the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois last week highlights just how tricky (...)

The UK Competition and Markets Authority orders divestment of Scottish assets following a merger (Iron Mountain / Recall)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 June 2016, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) published its final report into Iron Mountain’s acquisition of Recall, following a six-month in-depth phase II investigation. Both companies are active in records and information management services (“RIMS”). The CMA con- cluded (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on public interest considerations in merger control
OECD - Competition Division
Executive summary, by the Secretariat * Considering the discussion at the roundtable held by Working Party No. 3 on Co-operation and Enforcement on 14 June 2016, the delegates’ submissions, the panellists’ presentations and the Secretariat’s background paper, several points emerged: 1. (...)

The Organisation for the Economic Co-operation and Development holds a roundtable on jurisdictional nexus in merger control regimes
OECD - Competition Division
Executive summary, by the Secretariat * Considering the discussion at the roundtable held by Working Party No.3 on Co-operation and Enforcement on 15June 2016, the delegates’ submissions, the panellists’ presentations and the Secretariat’s background paper, several points are noted: 1. Merger (...)

The French Competition Authority refuses to lift the ban on exclusive broadcasting of premium sports channels pronounced against a pay TV channel (Canal Plus)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence considers that the conditions are not currently satisfied to lift the ban on exclusive broadcasting of premium sports channels pronounced on Canal Plus. * The Autorité will engage, during the upcoming twelve months, in an in-depth work in dialogue with all the (...)

The UK Competition Authority opens an in-depth investigation regarding a merger in the market of brokerage of oil products (Tullett / ICAP)
British Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Broker merger faces an in-depth investigation* Tullett’s anticipated acquisition of ICAP’s voice/hybrid broking business faces being referred for an in-depth investigation by the CMA. Tullett Prebon plc (Tullett) and ICAP plc (ICAP) are leading global interdealer brokers, companies that (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission finds that public service compensation granted by Italy to a local transport company is incompatible State aid which must be recovered (ARFEA)
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 affirms a Commission decision that aid granted to German climbing centres is compatible with the internal market, finding that the Commission’s economic analysis was sufficient (Magic Mountain Kletterhallen)
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 publishes Working Paper on State aid and tax rulings
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 3 June 2016, the European Commission published a working paper on state aid and tax rulings (the “Working Paper”). The Working Paper brings together relevant findings of the Commission in the politically sensitive area of state aid and corporate taxation. In particular, the Working Paper (...)

Procedures

The US FTC announces substantial increases to civil penalties
White & Case (Washington)
,
Shearman & Sterling (New York)
On Wednesday, June 29, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced substantial increases to the maximum civil penalties for 16 distinct violations of certain laws enforced by the FTC. Notable increases were announced for violations of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Improvements (HSR) Act and the (...)

The US FTC announces substantial increases to civil penalties in case of failure to notify mergers
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
,
Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
,
Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
Maximum Civil Penalties for HSR Violations to Increase to $40,000 per Day* For parties considering a merger or other transaction, the civil penalties for failing to comply with the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (“HSR Act”) are about to increase significantly.On June 29, (...)

The Shanghai People Court dismisses a price maintenance case in the factory automation control products market (Panasonic / Shanghai Rijing Electric)
University of Melbourne
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China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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University of Melbourne
On 29 June 2016, the Shanghai No 1 Intermediate People’s Court dismissed an antitrust lawsuit against Panasonic. The judgment was recently made public. The plaintiff, Shanghai Rijing Electric, one of Panasonic’s distributors of factory automation control products in Eastern China, had sued (...)

The Chinese NDRC releases a consultation draft of the Guideline on the determination of illegal gains from monopolistic conduct by business operators and the setting of fines
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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University of Melbourne
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University of Melbourne
On 17 June 2016, the NDRC released the Guideline on the Determination of Illegal Gains from Monopolistic Conduct by Business Operators and the Setting of Fines (Consultation Draft) for public consultation. The consultation period ended on 6 July 2016. The draft guideline provides an analytical (...)

The EU Commission publishes its 2015 annual report on competition policy
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 15 June 2016, the European Commission published its annual Report on Competition Policy (the “Report”). The Report outlines developments over the past year in policy, legislation and decisions in the eld of competition. Key priorities in the 2015 Report include growth and investment, the (...)

The China State Council releases reasons for and requirements of the fair competition review system
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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University of Melbourne
,
University of Melbourne
On 14 June 2016, the State Council released the Opinion on the Establishment of the Fair Competition Review System in the Development of a Market System, which sets out the reasons for and requirements of the fair competition review system. The fair competition review system is aimed at (...)

Regulatory

The OECD holds a roundtable on disruptive innovations in legal services
OECD - Competition Division
Executive summary, by the Secretariat * 1. The Roundtable on Disruptive Innovations in Legal Services discussed the way that current legal professional regulations are being (i) challenged by new innovations and (ii) potentially standing in the way of further innovation. The Chairman, Alberto (...)

The French Competition Authority issues its opinion concerning the freedom of establishment for notaries
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Proposed map of progressive establishment of new notarial offices* The Autorité de la concurrence identifies, on a total of 307 areas throughout the territory, 247 areas where it would be beneficial to create notarial offices, which would also lead to enhanced territorial coverage. It (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority launches a public consultation concerning its report on pharma market
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council launched for public consultation the report on sector inquiry on pharma market* One of the conclusions of the sector inquiry on pharma sector carried out by the Competition Council is that the generic medicines, although are with 35% less expensive than the innovative (...)

Public sector

The Hungarian Parliament maintains automatic debarment from public procurement tenders as a general sanction for competition violations but allows Government to exempt certain tenders (Hungarian Public Procurement Act)
Baker McKenzie (Budapest)
1. Overview In Hungary, since 1 November 2015 a fine imposed by any Competition Authority for anticompetitive agreements results in automatic exclusion from public procurement tenders. The recent introduction of automatic debarment was a major change compared to the previous rules, which (...)

The Croatian Competition Agency issues its opinion on public procurement rules relating to the purchase of fixed telephony services
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
The CCA opinion on public procurement rules for purchase of fixed telephony services* The Croatian Competition Agency communicated its opinion on public procurement rules relating to the purchase of fixed telephony services to the State Office for Central Public Procurement. This opinion has (...)

The Chinese NDRC and Guangdong Development and Reform Commission find abuses of administrative power of Shenzhen Municipal Education Bureau (School supplies)
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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University of Melbourne
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Hogan Lovells (Beijing)
The NDRC and the Guangdong Development and Reform Commission (Guangdong DRC) found that the Shenzhen Municipal Education Bureau (SMEB) violated Articles 8, 34, and 36 of the AML in its procurement of student supplies in 2011 and 2014. First, the SMEB guided businesses to make and implement a (...)

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