September 2018

Anticompetitive practices

The EU Commission invites stakeholders comments on the legal framework exempting liner shipping consortia from EU antitrust rules
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission invites comments on future regime for liner shipping consortia* The European Commission is inviting comments on the legal framework exempting liner shipping consortia from EU antitrust rules that prohibit anticompetitive agreements between companies, known as the (...)

The EU Court of Justice partly upholds the judgement of the General Court in a cartel case but sends it back to reexamine the calculation of the fine (Infineon)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 26 September 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) delivered two judgments on the appeals brought by Infineon and Philips against the General Court (“GC”)’s earlier judgments relating to the European Commission’s decision in Smart card chips cartel case. By way of background, (...)

The EU Court of Justice refers a case back to the General Court to reconsider the possibility of mitigating circumstances on the fine calculation (Infineon)
McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
CJEU REFERS SMART CARD CHIPS CARTEL CASE BACK TO GCEU, DISMISSES PHILIPS APPEAL On 26 September 2018, the CJEU considered that the GCEU had not taken into account certain possibly mitigating circumstances—namely the relatively small number of Infineon’s unlawful contacts with other cartel (...)

The EU Commission addresses Statement of Objections to Slovak rail company for alleged obstruction of investigation (ZSSK)
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
In June 2016, the Commission dawn raided the premises of ZSSK, the Slovak incumbent rail operator. The dawn raids followed concerns that ZSSK may have entered into anticompetitive agreements with the aim of foreclosing the market of rail passenger transport to its competitors, in breach of (...)

The EU Commission announces antitrust probe into data use (Amazon)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
The European Commission (the EU’s antitrust regulator) has announced that it is investigating Amazon’s use of third-party data as part of a wider probe into its business practices. Many retailers use Amazon as a platform to sell their products and, in doing so, provide Amazon with sales data. At (...)

The Indian Competition Authority fines manufacturers associations for bid rigging in public procurement program for ethanol, ignoring market economics (ISMA Indian Sugar Mills Association / EMAI Ethanol Manufactures Association of India)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI imposes penalty on Sugar mill manufacturers and Trade Associations (ISMA and EMAI) for collusive bidding in Government tender under the Ethanol Blending Programme* The Competition Commission of India (CCI/Commission) vide order dated September 18, 2018 has imposed heavy monetary penalties (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines an airports for restricting competition on parking prices in a lease with the operator of a Terminal hotel (Heathrow / Arora)
British Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Heathrow and Arora admit to anti-competitive car park agreement* Heathrow airport will pay a £1.6m fine for restricting competition on parking prices in a lease with the operator of a Terminal 5 hotel. The fine to be imposed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), comes after its (...)

The EU Commission opens an investigation on possible collusion between automobile constructors on clean emission technology market (BMW / Daimler / VW)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens formal investigation into possible collusion between BMW, Daimler and the VW group on clean emission technology* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether BMW, Daimler and VW (Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche) colluded, in breach of EU (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority sends a statement of objections to five railway maintenance companies and their directors and managers for cartel (Construções e Técnicas Ferroviárias, Indústrias Ferroviárias, Engenharia e Construção, Sociedade de Estudos e Construções and Engenharia e Obras Ferroviárias)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC issues Statement of Objections to 5 companies and 6 directors and managers for cartel in railway maintenance companies* The Portuguese Competition Authority (Autoridade da Concorrência - AdC) issued a Statement of Objections to railway maintenance companies of Mota-Engil, Comsa, Somague, (...)

The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court upholds the decision of the Lithuanian Competition Authority fining two undertakings for bid rigging in the market of radioactive scrap metal (Norvesta / Sypra)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
PARTICIPANTS OF AUCTION BY IGNALINA NUCLEAR POWER PLANT DID NOT AVOID LIABILITY FOR CARTEL INFRINGEMENT* Vilnius Regional Administrative Court (Court) upheld the decision of the Lithuanian competition authority Konkurencijos taryba, according to which UAB Norvesta and the German company Sypra (...)

The Commercial Courts of Barcelona and Madrid render judgements in follow-on suits against a cartel in the envelopes market (Sobres de Papel)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
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Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
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Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
Update on damages claims in Spain - paper envelope cartel damages recovery. Several rulings have been issued by Spanish lower courts shedding light on key aspects of antitrust damages claims, such as the treatment of evidence concerning the calculation of compensation for damages. Also the (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal upholds the decision of the Competition Authority fining a manufacturer of golf clubs for banning online retail of its products (Ping)
British Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Win in Ping golf clubs case sends clear online retail signal* The Competition Appeal Tribunal has upheld the CMA’s decision that Ping Europe Ltd broke the law by banning the online sale of its golf clubs. This landmark case sends an important signal that attempts by manufacturers to impose (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal dismisses the appeal brought by a manufacturer of golf equipments on liability of anticompetitive practices but permits a small reduction of fine (Ping)
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (London)
UK LANDMARK COMPETITION CASE CONDEMNS ABSOLUTE INTERNET SALE BAN AS A SERIOUS BREACH OF COMPETITION LAW* Introduction The Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) handed down its judgment on 7 September 2018 in relation to an appeal by Ping Europe Limited (“Ping”) challenging the decision of the UK (...)

The German Competition Authority fines two publishers for concluding illegal territorial agreements (DuMont / Bonner General-Anzeiger)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
DuMont media group fined for concluding territorial agreements with the Bonner General-Anzeiger media group* The Bundeskartellamt has imposed fines amounting to a total of 16 million euros on DuMont Mediengruppe GmbH & Co. KG, an individual responsible and a lawyer. The company is accused (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority fines a retailer of margarine and butter products for resale price maintenance (Minerva)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
Decision of the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) on ex officio investigation of the Directorate General of Competition for violations of Articles 1 and 2 of Law 703 / 1977-3959 / 2011 and Articles 101 and 102 TFEU by the company "MINERVA SA EDIBLE OILS ENTERPRISES" (MINERVA), regarding (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority reduces fines of companies sanctioned for bid-rigging in the radiology IT products market (GE Hungary / Silver Woo)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
Substantial reduction of fine thanks to cooperation of the parties* The Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal, hereinafter GVH) found that GE Hungary Kft. and Silver Wood – IT Kft. had committed a competition law infringement in the course of purchasing the radiology IT (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Indian Competition Authority fines MRI manufacturer for abuse of dominance, with the Chairman dissenting due to different market definition that would conclude no dominance (House of Diagnostics / Esaote Asia Pacific)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI imposes penalty on Esaote SPA and its Indian subsidiary for abusing its dominant position in the sale of specialized MRI machines* The CCI vide its order dated September 27, 2018 has imposed a penalty of INR 9.33 lakhs on Esaote S.p.A and its Indian subsidiary, Esaote Asia Pacific (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority publishes a decision on export bans in the pharmaceutical sector (Roche)
ACTECON (Istanbul)
Introduction On 27 September 2018, Turkish Competition Authority (“TCA”) published its decision concerning the allegations that Roche Müstahzarları A.Ş. (“Roche”) had violated articles 4 and 6 of the Law on the Protection of Competition (“Competition Act”). Within this scope, the TCA re-evaluated (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines the Italian Authors’ and Publishers’ Association for abuse of dominant position (SIAE)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 25 September 2018, the Italian Competition Authority (the “ICA”) imposed a symbolic fine of € 1,000 on the Italian Authors’ and Publishers’ Association (the “SIAE”) for abusing its dominant position. The SIAE is a collective management organisation under Directive 2014/26/EU on collective (...)

The Cypriot Competition Authority sends a statement of objection to a community council over possible excessive pricing on the market of water supply (Community Council of Kouklia)
Commission for the Protection of Competition of the Republic of Cyprus (Nycosia)
The Commission for the Protection of Competition announces that it has notified a Statement of Objections to the Community Council of Kouklia regarding a prima facie infringement of Section 6(1)(a) of the Protection of Competition Laws of 2008 and 2014.* The Commission for the Protection of (...)

The French Competition Authority closes the case regarding practices carried out by a local Bar Association (AGN Avocats)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Registering to the Limoges Bar Association* The Autorité de la concurrence closes the case referred to it by AGN Avocats. The company AGN Avocats lodged a complaint with the Autorité relating to a set of practices that is alleged to have been adopted by the Limoges Bar Association Council and (...)

The French Competition Authority fines an undertaking for excessive pricing in the market of waste disposal for hospitals and clinics in Corsica (Sanicorse)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Management of infectious medical waste generated by healthcare activities* The Autorité de la concurrence has fined the company Sanicorse for increasing abruptly, significantly, durably and in an unjustified manner the waste disposal prices it charged hospitals and clinics in Corsica. The (...)

The EU Commission looks into an online platform’s use of online sales data (Amazon)
International Center for Law & Economics (Portland)
The Amazon investigation and Europe’s "Big Tech" Crusade* The dust has barely settled on the European Commission’s record-breaking €4.3 Billion Google Android fine, but already the European Commission is gearing up for its next high-profile case. Last month, Margrethe Vestager dropped a (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority follows the European Commission’s footsteps in the search engines’ battles (Google / Yandex)
ACTECON (Istanbul)
The tech giant Google has been under the Turkish Competition Authority’s (“TCA”) scrutiny due to its practices in the market for licensable mobile operating systems and under the judicial review since July 2015. In September 2018, the TCA has finally released its short decision and imposed a fine (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes interim measures on a manufacturer of lids for electricity meter boxes for possible abuse of dominance (ABB)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Competition College of the BCA imposes interim measures on ABB Industrial Solutions regarding lids for electricity meter boxes* On 3 September 2018, the Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) imposed interim measures, at the request of TECO NV, on ABB Industrial (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority opens an investigation regarding an alleged dominant position on the market of energy production and trading (Hidroelectrica)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
THE COMPETITION COUNCIL INVESTIGATES A POSSIBLE ABUSE OF DOMINANT POSITION OF HIDROELECTRICA SA* The Competition Council opened an investigation concerning an alleged dominant possition of Hidroelectrica SA on the market of Romanian market energy production and trading. The Competition (...)

Mergers

The Portuguese Competition Authority clears a merger subject to remedies in the liquefied petroleum gas market (Repsol / Rubis)
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
AdC clears the acquisition of Repsol’s LPG business in Madeira and Azores by Rubis, subject to conditions* The Portuguese Competition Authority (AdC) has accepted the divesture commitments brought forth by Rubis II Distribuição Portugal, and hence has approved Rubis’ acquisition of the existing (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens a second phase enquiry into a merger in the optical sector (Luxottica / Barberini)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
Pursuant to Article 16(4) of the Law no. 287/1990, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has decided to open a Second Phase investigation into a merger between two undertakings operating in the optical field where they manufacture, amongst other things, sunglasses and lenses for sunglasses. (...)

The UK Government publishes a technical notice on merger control and competition enforcement if there is no Brexit deal
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
Wondering what competition law in the UK might look like in a post-Brexit ’no deal’ scenario? On 13 September 2018, the UK government tried to shine some light on this area by publishing a technical notice on the provisions for merger control and competition enforcement if there is no Brexit (...)

The Irish Competition Authority clears a merger subject to remedies in the media sector (Reach / Northern / Shell Network)
Irish Competition Authority (Dublin)
CCPC clears media merger subject to confidentiality commitments* Following an extensive two-phase investigation, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has cleared, subject to binding commitments, the acquisition by Reach Plc (Reach) (formerly Trinity Mirror Plc) of Northern (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger in the market of music recognition for smartphones, tablets and PCs (Apple / Shazam)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission clears Apple’s acquisition of Shazam* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Shazam by Apple. The Commission concluded that the merger would not adversely affect competition in the European Economic Area or any (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger after an investigation into the potential anti-competitive effects resulting from a major data transfer in the digital music streaming sector (Apple / Shazam)
Liège University - IEJE
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Liège University - IEJE
The European Commission has unconditionally cleared Apple’s EUR 400 million purchase of Shazam. Following an in-depth phase II investigation into the possible anti-competitive effects resulting from Apple getting access to Shazam’s data set, the Commission concluded that the proposed merged (...)

The Brazilian Competition Authority requests the submission of a below-thresholds transaction between two distributors of pharmaceutical supplies (All Chemistry / SM Empreendimentos)
Caminati Bueno Advogados (São Paulo)
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Caminati Bueno Advogados (São Paulo)
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Caminati Bueno Advogados (São Paulo)
1. INTRODUCTION During the trial session of September 5, 2018, the Tribunal of the Brazilian Competition Authority (“CADE”) requested the submission of a transaction that did not trigger the mandatory notification thresholds.- In short, the transaction concerns the acquisition of All Chemistry (...)

The Egyptian Competition Authority sends official notice and request of information to the two ride-hailing companies of Egypt (Uber / Careem)
Egyptian Competition Authority (Cairo)
Attempted merger agreement between the two main competitors in the ridesharing market in Egypt, Uber Group and Careem Group
* Based on several reported information concerning an attempted merger agreement between the two main competitors in the ridesharing market in Egypt, Uber Group and Careem (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission approves under EU State Aid rules a €45 million investment aid of Hungary to a chemical company (BorsodChem)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves Hungary’s €45 million investment aid to BorsodChem* The European Commission has found Hungary’s €45 million investment aid to chemical company BorsodChem Zrt to be in line with EU State aid rules. The aid will contribute to the development of the region of Northern (...)

THE EU Commission approves a €3.5 billion aid of the Belgian Government to three offshore windfarms under EU State Aid rules (Mermaid / Seastar / Northwester2)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €3.5 billion support to three offshore windfarms in Belgium* The European Commission has found Belgian plans to support three offshore windfarm projects to be in line with EU State aid rules. The measure will further EU energy and climate goals without unduly (...)

The EU Court of Justice assesses that an increase of 20% in a tax inseparably linked with a State aid measure have to be notified to the Commission (Carrefour Hypermarchés / Ministre des Finances et des Comptes Publics)
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 Court of Justice holds that public service obligations must be properly defined via an official act or an administrative decision (Castilla-la-Mancha State aid’s)
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 finds that the non-taxation of certain profits of a fast-food company in Luxembourg is in line with the EU State Aid rules (McDonald’s)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission investigation did not find that Luxembourg gave selective tax treatment to McDonald’s* The Commission has found that the non-taxation of certain McDonald’s profits in Luxembourg did not lead to illegal State aid, as it is in line with national tax laws and the (...)

The EU Commission finds that the Luxembourg authorities’ non-taxation of a fast-food franchising relies on a correct interpretation of the Luxembourg-US Double Tax Treaty and therefore does not constitute illegal State aid (McDonald’s)
Liège University - IEJE
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Liège University - IEJE
1. Parties McDonald’s Corporation and its subsidiaries franchise and operate tens of thousands of fast food restaurants worldwide. One of the subsidiaries is McD Europe Franchising, S.à.r.l. That company is a Luxembourg tax resident and following the example of the Commission, we will refer to (...)

The EU Commission holds that Luxembourg did not grant illegal State aid to a Fast-Food company as a consequence of the exemption of income attributed to a US branch (McDonald’s)
Stockholm University
Fiscal State Aid and Tax Treaty Law: the puzzling decision in the McDonald’s Case* On 17 December 2018 the European Commission issued the public version of its decision in the McDonald’s case (SA.38945). The Commission found, contrary to its initial conclusion in the opening decision, that (...)

The EU Court of justice holds that unlimited State guarantees create a presumption of the existence of an advantage (IFP Energies nouvelles)
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 annuls an aid granted to an important project of common European interest (IPCEI) as unconditional and unlimited guarantees are incompatible with the internal market (Øresund road-rail fixed link)
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 emphasizes the necessity of ex ante assessment on future profitability in a case of State aid to the Belgian steel sector (Duferco)
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 Competition Bureau and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada launch revised immunity and leniency programs
Cassels Brock (Toronto)
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Cassels Brock (Toronto)
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Cassels Brock (Toronto)
It used to be the best deal in town: participants in criminal price-fixing conspiracies could approach the Competition Bureau and receive either complete immunity or leniency in exchange for ratting out their co-conspirators. The Bureau and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) still (...)

The EFTA Court renders a judgment on the limitation period for damages claims (Nye Kystlink / Color Group and Color Li)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 17 September 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Free Trade Association States (the “EFTA Court”) handed down its judgment in Nye Kystlink AS v Color Group AS and Color Line, Case E-10/17, answering preliminary questions asked by Norway’s Borgarting Court of Appeal (Borgarting (...)

The High Court of Delhi rejects a company’s appeal and clarifies a number of procedural issues including the period when the recall application can be filed (Cadila Healthcare)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
Delhi High Court Division Bench clears procedural and jurisdictional issues in antitrust enquiry by the CCI* In a landmark judgement dated September 12, 2018, on a LPA filed by Cadila Healthcare Limited (“Cadila”), the division bench of the Delhi High Court, comprising of Justice S. Ravindra (...)

Public sector

The French Competition Authority fines three companies for bid-rigging in the public lighting sector (Lapize de Sallée)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Public lighting in Ardèche* The Autorité de la concurrence has fined a company in Ardèche for entering into agreements with competitors to secure public procurement contracts Following an investigation by the Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority qualifies irregularities in the public procurement of sports equipment admitted by the local administration as infringement of competition law (Chişinău Municipal Council)
Faculty of Law - University of Macau
On 6 September 2018, the Competition Council of the Republic of Moldova (CC) concluded that the Chişinău Municipal Council (CMC) has organized the procurement of certain sports equipment in violation of public procurement legislation, which led to the restriction of competition on the relevant (...)

International

Spain: The Spanish Supreme Court annuls an unannounced inspection carried out by the Spanish Competition Authority, as the agents refused to reveal whether they held a judicial authorization, thus breaching the principles of loyalty, good faith and transparency required from the Administration and the undertakings during dawn raids, and introducing a flaw which annuls the consent obtained from the undertaking concerned (Repsol)
Martinez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann (Madrid)
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Martinez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann (Madrid)
In a Judgement of 17 September 2018 (appeal n° 2922/2016), the Spanish Supreme Court has overturned the Judgement of 21 July 2016 of the Audiencia Nacional (appeal n° 482/2013) which had dismissed the appeal lodged by Repsol, S.A. against the decision of the former Spanish competition authority (...)

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