May 2003

Anticompetitive practices

The Japan Fair Trade Commission renders a recommendation against participants in bidding for paving works (paving constructors)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
JFTC issues a recommendation to participants in bids for paving works let by Kyoto-city.* he JFTC, following an investigation into participants in bids for paving work contracts called by Kyoto-city, issued today a recommendation to 12 construction companies in violation of section (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice holds that a franchisor’s advertisement containing sale prices can constitute a prohibited retail price maintenance if the franchisor does not explicitly limit the indication of price to his own branches or clearly indicates that they are not binding for the franchisees (Apollo)
Linklaters (Düsseldorf)
Description of the impugned case The case deals with indirect RPM in the framework of a franchising system. The BGH holds that if a franchisor who distributes his products both, via a franchise system and via his own branches, advertises with fixed sale prices without however limiting such (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission imposes surcharges on participants in bidding for road maintenance and civil engineering works (Shikoku Road Service)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
JFTC orders surcharge payment from a participant of bids for road maintenance and civil engineering works let by Shikoku Regional Bureau of the Japan Highway Public Corporation (Nihon Doro Kodan)* The JFTC issued a surcharge payment order to Shikoku Road Service K.K on May 2, 2003 as follows: (...)

The UK High Court declares that where there is a UK element in a cartel case then a claimant may bring a claim in respect of all its European losses as well (Provimi / Aventis)
Linklaters (London)
Linklaters (London)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
Challenging the cartels: Private enforcement of competition law* The recent judgment in Provimi v Aventis has established that where there is an English element to a cartel, a claimant may now bring an action in London in respect of all its European losses, instead of having to pursue separate (...)

Unilateral Practices

The EU Commission concludes a settlement with telecommunications incumbent in a case concerning a presumed margin squeeze for broadband access in Germany (Deutsche Telekom)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Presumed margin squeeze for broadband access in Germany: settlement with Deutsche Telekom"* In February 2004, the Directorate-General for Competition concluded a settlement with Deutsche Telekom AG (DT) in a case concerning a presumed margin squeeze for broadband access in Germany. The (...)

The EU Commission adopts a decision under Art. 82 against German telecom incumbent’s pricing strategy for local access to the fixed telephony (Deutsche Telekom)
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton (Brussels)
High Council for the French Notarial Profession (Paris)
"Two Commission decisions on price abuse in the telecommunications sector"* During the first half of the year 2003, the Commission adopted two formal prohibition decisions pursuant to Article 82 EC-Treaty regarding abusive pricing for the provision of telecommunications services. Those are the (...)


The Czech Competiton Office cleared in phase II a merger in the market of products used for manufacture of ceramics subject to remedies aimed at maintaining supplies for small and mid-sized producers (Torrecid / Glazura)
Prague City Hall
The operation Under the shareholder interest transfer agreement on transfer of shares, TORRECID, S.A. ("TORRECID"), a company with the registered office in Spain, acquired a 100 % shareholder interest in Glazura, s.r.o. ("Glazura"). (p. 1) TORRECID forms together with its subsidiaries (...)

The Austrian Cartel Court clears a merger of outdoor advertising companies, subject to behavioural and structural remedies including merger prohibition for 2.5 years in the relevant market (Saria / Medicur / Dr Schuster)
Taylor Wessing (Berlin)
The operation Saria Holding AG (Saria) and Medicur Holding Gesellschaft mbH (Medicur) notified their proposal to acquire Dr Heinrich Schuster Werbung and Heimatwerbung (Dr Schuster) to the Federal Competition Authority (BWB).The BWB referred the acquisition to the Austrian Cartel Court (OLG.) (...)

The German Bundeskartellamt cleared a merger in the market for fungicides subject to remedies, including the granting of an exclusive distribution licence (BASF / Bayer Crop Science)
Baker McKenzie (Dusseldorf)
The operation On 17 February 2003 BASF AG (“BASF”) notified the Bundeskartellamt of its proposed acquisition of certain crop protection activities of Bayer Crop Science AG (“Bayer Crop Science”). The notification was also related to the commitments given to the European Commission (EC) by Bayer (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority clears a merger in the sector of pharmacies with a posteriori condition including limited termination of control (UTA Pharma Beteiligungs / Pharma Concept)
Lakatos, Köves (Budapest)
The operation Both UTA Pharma and Pharma Concept are trust and investment companies targeting to get indirect limited partnership in pharmacies and to finance them. The pharmacies in Hungary are established in the form of partnership with limited liability. The newly created merger would (...)

The German Federal Cartel Office cleared with remedies a merger in the markets for asphalt and quarry products subject to divestiture of shares, the closing or divestiture of plants, restrictions on voting rights and the leasing of two quarries (Basalt-Actien / Deutsche Asphalt)
Humboldt University (Berlin)
The operation On 7 November 2002 and on 2 February 2003, Basalt-Actien Gesellschaft (BAG) notified the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) of its intention to purchase, directly or via affiliates, from Deutsche Asphalt shares in several companies with interests in asphalt mixing plants, (...)

The German Bundeskartellamt cleared a merger in the market for food additives subject to remedies, including the commitment not to apply to the EC for an extension of anti-dumping customs duties (Ajinomoto / Orsan)
Baker McKenzie (Dusseldorf)
The operation On 7 January 2003 Ajinomoto Co., Inc., Japan (“Ajinomoto”) notified the Bundeskartellamt of its proposed acquisition of 80.4% of Orsan S.A, France (“Orsan”). Orsan is mainly active as a producer of monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavour enhancer. With a plant in Neslé, France, Orsan (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority cleared a merger in the cosmetics market with remedies including limitation of the duration of non-solicitation clause (Eczacibasi-Avon)
Esin (Istanbul)
The operation Avon Group is a company which is engaged in the production and marketing of cosmetics. Avon Group is active in 58 countries through its affiliates and its products are being marketed in 143 countries. The main characteristic of Avon Group is that its products are not marketed (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority held that bidders for a privatization tender will not be required to file notification for clearance, provided, if they win the tender, that they have sole control of the special purpose vehicle (Takým/SMM Hesfibel)
Esin (Istanbul)
The operation Takým is a company which was incorporated mainly for the purpose of manufacturing all kinds of set of tools. SMM is a special purpose vehicle incorporated solely for the purpose of participating to the privatization tender. The shareholders of SMM warranted that in the event the (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on media mergers
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
Executive summary, by the Secretariat Considering the discussion at the roundtable, the delegate submissions and the background paper, a number of key points emerge: (1) Market definition in media markets is a particularly difficult and time consuming exercise. Nevertheless, market definition (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission announces its intention to review guidelines on regional State aid for the period after 1st January 2007
McGuireWoods (Richmond)
"The Regional State Aid Maps for 2007-2013: Less and better targeted regional aid"* In May 2003, the Commission announced its intention to review the Regional Aid Guidelines in order to give the Member States and the Commission sufficient time before the end of 2006 to draw up, notify and (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules on the interpretation of the private-investor principle in the assessment of State aid and whether aid can be recovered from an undertaking that, using part of the assets, partially continued the activities of the original beneficiary undertaking (Seleco Case)
Antoniou McCollum & Co. (Nicosia)
On 8 May 2003, the then European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) handed down its judgment in Joined Cases C-328/99 and C-399/00, Italy and SIM 2 Multimedia SpA v Commission of the European Communities. The cases jointly heard by the ECJ (together, the “Seleco Case”) concerned actions to annul the (...)

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