Belgian Competition Law

General antitrust

The Belgian Competition Authority publishes enforcement priorities for 2021
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 10 March 2021, the Belgian Competition Authority (Belgische Mededingingsautoriteit / Autorité belge de la Concurrence - BCA) published its list of enforcement priorities for 2021 (See, website of BCA, in Dutch and in French). The document discusses the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority sets out its key policy priorities for 2021
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 10 March 2021, the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) published its Priority Policy Note for the year ahead (available in French and Dutch). Impact of COVID-19 The BCA acknowledges that 2021 will be a year of recovery following the negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the Belgian (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority adopts fining guidelines which extend the scope to include the sanction for abuse of economic dependency
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 3 September 2020, the Belgian Competition Authority adopted new guidelines on the method of setting fines for competition law infringements (the “Fining Guidelines”). The Fining Guidelines were published in the Belgian Official Journal on 16 September 2020 and entered into force immediately. (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority updates its guidelines on the calculation of fines
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
Guidelines of the Belgian Competition Authority on the calculation of fines* As a result of the Royal Decree of 31 July 2020 published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 12 August 2020, the new Article IV.79 of the Code of Economic Law (CEL) entered into force on 22 August 2020. Pursuant to (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority issues new guidelines on the calculation of fines
Court of First Instance of Namur (Namur)
New guidelines of the Belgian Competition Authority (the “BCA”) on the calculation of fines (the “Fining Guidelines”) were published on 25 May 2020 in the Belgian Official Journal. The Fining Guidelines replace the Guidelines on the calculation of fines adopted in 2014 by the BCA. The new Fining (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority adopts leniency guidelines
Court of First Instance of Namur (Namur)
On 22 May 2020, new Leniency Guidelines (the “2020 Guidelines”) adopted by the Belgian Competition Authority (the “BCA”) were published in the Belgian Official Journal. The 2020 Guidelines replace the 2016 Leniency Guidelines and lay down the conditions to obtain total or partial immunity from (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority adopts guidelines regarding the calculation of fines, leniency applications and on the informal opinions of the Competition Authority’s President
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 22 May 2020 the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) published three new guidelines: (i) new guidelines regarding the informal opinions of the BCA’s President; (ii) new guidelines regarding the calculation of fines; and (iii) new leniency guidelines. Below we set out the most important (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority publishes its annual enforcement priorities for 2020
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 26 February 2020, the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) published its annual enforcement priorities, which are largely similar to those of 2019: Telecommunications - the BCA notes that the increased reliance on bundled offers in the telecom retail markets has the effect of increasing (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority carries out an unannounced inspection in the pharmaceutical sector
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Belgian Competition Authority is conducting inspections in the pharmaceutical sector* The Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) is currently conducting inspections at the premises of companies suspected of having implemented restrictive practices (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority publishes its enforcement priorities for 2019
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 1 March 2019, the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) published its annual enforcement priorities, which are largely similar to those of 2018: Telecommunications – the BCA notes that the increased reliance on bundled offers in the telecom retail markets has the effect of increasing consumer (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The Belgian Competition Authority closes an investigation against two grocery stores’ purchasing agreement after receiving their commitments (Carrefour / Provera)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority has closed an investigation against the purchasing alliance between Carrefour and Provera after receiving commitments* In May 2019, the Prosecutor-general of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) opened an (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes a fine on the professional organization of pharmacists on account of an anticompetitive agreement (Ordre des pharmaciens / Orde der Apothekers)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 26 March 2021, the Belgian Competition Authority (Belgische Mededingingsautoriteit / Autorité belge de la Concurrence - BCA) announced that its Privileged and Confidential Attorney – Client Communication Competition College (Mededingingscollege / Collège de la Concurrence) had imposed a fine of (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes a fine of 245,000€ on the national pharmacist association for hindering competition (Ordre des pharmaciens / Orde der Apothekers)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority imposes a fine of 245,000 euros on “l’Ordre des pharmaciens – Orde der apothekers” for the practices that were subject of its decision of 28 May 2019 On 28 May 2019, the Belgian Competition Authority had adopted a decision condemning (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority does not consider the relegation of the football club to division 1B prima facie incompatible with competition law (FC Waasland-Beveren)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Competition College does not consider the relegation of the football club Waasland-Beveren to division 1B prima facie incompatible with competition law* The Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has on the 2nd of July 2020 imposed on the Pro League (Belgian premium (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes interim measures on a billiards game association following a complaint raised on its anticompetitive rules (Belgian Bumper Pool Association)
University of Leiden - Europa Institute (Leiden)
In a decision of 24 January 2020, the Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority imposed an interim measure on the Belgian Bumper Pool Association (Belgian Golf Billiards League, BGB) concerning the balls that may be played with in competitions and matches organised by the BGB or (...)

The Belgian Court of Appeal upholds the Competition Authority’s decision for imposing a fine over the exclusion of a company from the pharmaceutical sector (Order of Pharmacists)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
In a judgment dated 8 January 2020, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the Belgian Competition Authority ("BCA") in which it imposed a fine on the Order of Pharmacists for excluding Medi-Market from the market for pharmacy services (see July edition of Competitive Edge). The Court, (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority fines the national pharmacists order for taking disciplinary measures limiting the ability to advertise and apply rebates to para pharmaceutical products (Order of Pharmacists)
Ashurst (Brussels)
On 16 October 2019, the Belgian Competition Authority ("BCA") fined the national Order of Pharmacists €225,000 for taking disciplinary measures limiting the ability of pharmacists to advertise and apply rebates to parapharmaceutical products. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW - KEY TAKEAWAYS The BCA’s (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority fines €225,000 the national association of pharmacists for limiting the ability of pharmacists to advertise para pharmaceutical products online (Order of Pharmacists)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 15 October 2019, the Belgian Competition Authority ("BCA") imposed a fine of EUR 225,000 on the national Order of Pharmacists for adopting, maintaining and implementing provisions of its Deontological Code that limit the ability of pharmacists to advertise para-pharmaceutical products, in (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority issues a guide on the exchange of information in the framework of professional association
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
Guide on the exchange of information in the framework of professional association* After completing the public consultations, the Board of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has adopted on the 1st of October 2019 a guide on the exchange of information in the framework of professional (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority publishes a guide which sets out the principles of exchanging information between competitors and how it applies to associations of undertakings
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 1 October 2019, the Belgian Competition Authority published a Guide on the "Exchange of Information in the framework of Associations of Undertakings". The Guide sets out the main principles of exchanging information between competitors and how they apply to associations of undertakings, and (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority fines a pharmaceutical company for implementing anticompetitive practices aimed at excluding another association of pharmacies from the market (Order of Pharmacists)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
The Belgian Competition Authority ("BCA") fined the national Order of Pharmacists EUR 1 million on 28 May 2019, for the use of anticompetitive practices aimed at excluding the Medi-Market Group, an association of (para)pharmacies, from the market for pharmacy services. Previously, the market (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority carries out unannounced inspections in the retail sector
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Belgian Competition Authority confirms the inspections at retail chains* The Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) confirms that the BCA is conducting inspections at the premises of some companies active in the retail sector. These companies are (...)

The Belgian parliament adopts law regarding abuse of economic dependency prohibiting unfair, misleading and aggressive practices between undertakings
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
,
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
,
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
On 21 March 2019, the Belgian parliament adopted a law (i) expanding the scope of Belgian competition law to also cover abuses of economic dependency, (ii) introducing a greylist and a blacklist of clauses in B2B agreements and (iii) prohibiting certain unfair, misleading and/or aggressive (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority closes several inquiries concerning restrictive practices in the travel sector and the freight handlers in the Flemish ports
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority has closed several inquiries concerning restrictive practices on the one hand the travel sector and on the other hand the freight handlers in the Flemish ports* In the course of 2006, the College of Competition (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes a fine on a skincare company for resale price maintenance (Caudalie)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Competition College has imposed a fine on companies of the Caudalie group for the imposition of minimum prices and the restriction of active and passive sales* The Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority has decided on 6 May 2021 that companies of the Caudalie group (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority investigates a cosmetic company for its imposition of a maximum discount level on its network of selective distributors (Caudalie)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority has submitted a motivated proposal for decision in a case concerning the imposition by Caudalie of a maximum discount level on its network of selective distributors* On 20 November 2020, the Investigation and (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes interim measures requested by a football club following an appeal judgment (Virton / RBFA)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 19 November 2020, the Competition College (Mededingingscollege / Collège de la concurrence) of the Belgian Competition Authority (Belgische Mededingingsautoriteit / Autorité belge de la Concurrence - the BCA) imposed interim measures on the Royal Belgian Football Association (the RBFA) at the (...)

The Brussels Court of Appeal annuls the Competition Authority’s decision rejecting a football club’s request for interim measures (Virton / RBFA)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a judgment delivered on 19 November 2020, the Markets Court of the Brussels Court of Appeal (Marktenhof / Cour des marchés) (the Markets Court) annulled the decision adopted on 29 June 2020 by the Competition College (Mededingingscollege / Collège de la concurrence) of the Belgian Competition (...)

The Brussels Court of Appeal partially annuls a decision imposing a record fine on a telecommunication company for margin squeeze (Proximus)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 7 October 2020, the Markets Court of the Brussels Court of Appeal (Marktenhof / Cour des marchés) (the Markets Court) partially annulled the decision of 26 May 2009 (the 2009 Decision), for lack of admissible evidence, by which the Belgian Competition Authority (Belgische (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority publishes a royal decree which incorporates the ban on abuse of economic dependency into the code of economic law
Ashurst (Brussels)
Background A Royal Decree amending the Belgian Code of Economic Law with regard to the prohibition of abuses of economic dependence was published in the Official Journal of Belgium on 12 August 2020. This Royal decree confirms the competence of the Belgian Competition Authority ("BCA") to (...)

The Belgian Government passes a law prohibiting companies from abusing non-dominant positions vis-à-vis companies that are economically dependent on them
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
,
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
,
King & Spalding (Brussels)
A new form of competition law infringement will be enforceable in Belgium* (in addition to the prohibitions on anti-competitive agreements and abuses of a dominant position). The new Article IV.2/1 of the Belgian Competition Act (CA) will prohibit companies from abusing a non-dominant position (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes interim measures against a sports association because of its anticompetitive rules (Belgian Bumper Pool Association)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
Interim measure imposed on the Belgian Bumper Pool Association concerning the bumper pool balls that may be played with in competitions and matches* At the request of HCSB BVBA (manufacturer of bumper pool balls), the Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has imposed (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority fines an undertaking up to €1 million for implementing restrictive practices aimed at hindering the development on the market for pharmacists’ services by other undertakings (Order of Pharmacists)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority condemns “l’Ordre des pharmaciens – Orde der apothekers” for having tried to hinder the development of the MediCare-Market group and imposes a fine of 1 million euros* The Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) (...)

The Brussels Court of Appeal asks the EU Commission to provide advice and information regarding the tariffs for concerts and music festivals of a copyright collecting society (SABAM)
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
,
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
On 10 May 2019, by interim judgment, the Brussels Court of Appeal asked the European Commission to provide advice and information regarding the tariffs for concerts and music festivals of SABAM – the Belgian copyright collecting society – in light of the prohibition to abuse a dominant position (...)

The Antwerp Enterprise Court refers request for a preliminary ruling to the EU Court of Justice in excessive pricing case between festival organisers (SABAM)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 10 May 2019, the Antwerp Enterprise Court (the “Court”) referred a request for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “ECJ”) in two separate cases between Belgian festival organisers Weareone. World BVBA (the organisers of Tomorrowland) and Wecandance NV (the (...)

The Belgian Markets Court rejects an appeal lodged by an undertaking against the Competition Authority’s decision to reject its request for interim measures decision and explains limits of its jurisdiction (The Great Circle)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 8 May 2019, the Markets Court of the Brussels Court of Appeal rejected as inadmissible the appeal lodged by The Great Circle against the decision of the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) to reject its request for interim measures against the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium (...)

The Belgian Parliament adopts legislation allowing the Competition Authority to establish and sanction abuses of economic dependence
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Brussels)
,
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Brussels)
,
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Brussels)
On 21 March, the Belgian Parliament adopted legislation introducing a new concept of abuse of economic dependence in Belgian competition law. The new provision will allow the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) to establish and sanction abuses without the need to establish market dominance, (...)

The Belgian Parliament adopts law regarding the abuse of economic dependence and unfair, misleading and aggressive practices between undertakings
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
,
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
,
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
On 21 March 2019, the Belgian parliament adopted a law (i) expanding the scope of Belgian competition law to also cover abuses of economic dependence, (ii) introducing a greylist and a blacklist of clauses in B2B agreements and (iii) prohibiting certain unfair, misleading and/or aggressive (...)

The Belgian Parliament adopts a proposal amending the national competition law in order to include the concept of abuse of economic dependence
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 21 March 2019, the Belgian Parliament adopted a proposal amending Belgian competition law to include the concept of abuse of economic dependence in the toolbox of the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) following the example of a number of other EU Member States. Under the new rules, it (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority refuses to impose an interim measure on a meteorological institute accused of abuse of dominance in the market of meteorological data (Royal Meteorological Institute)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Competition College of the BCA has refused to impose an interim measure on the Royal Meteorological Institute as requested by The Great Circle* The Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has refused on 15 February 2019 to impose an interim measure on the Belgian (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority adopts a settlement decision in a case concerning a practice of resale price maintenance (HM Products Benelux)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Investigation and Prosecution Service of the BCA adopts a settlement decision for imposing maximum discount levels on a network of dealers and imposes a fine amounting to 98.000 EUR* The Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) sanctions the company (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority fines a distributor of infrared cabins for resale price maintenance (HM Products Benelux)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 24 January 2019, the Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority (the “BCA”) imposed a € 98,000 fine on HM Products Benelux (“HM”) for engaging in resale price maintenance (“RPM”). HM imports and distributes infrared cabins of the HealthMate brand in the Benelux. The (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes interim measures on a broadcaster in order to ensure the continuity of the FM broadcasts in the execution of its public service mission (Norkring / Broadcast Partners)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Competition College of the BCA imposed an interim measure on Norkring België* On 22 January 2019, the Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) imposed an interim measure on NV Norkring België (Norkring) in order to ensure the continuity of the FM broadcasts of VRT in (...)

Mergers

The Belgian Competition Authority approves the merger between two energy providers (Comfort Energy / Calpam)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Belgian Competition Authority approves the acquisition by Comfort Energy NV of Calpam Belgium NV and its subsidiary Mazout.be SRL (together called “Q8 Mazout”*) The Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has approved on 29 April 2021 the acquisition (...)

The Belgian Government adopts a bill to exclude clinical networking between hospitals from the application of merger control
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 March 2021, the federal Chamber of Representatives adopted a bill seeking to exclude the creation of local hospital networks (locoregionaal ziekenhuisnetwerk / réseau hospitalier locorégional) and any subsequent change in their composition from the application of the Belgian merger control (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority approves the merger between two retail companies in the sanitary, heating, plumbing and ventilation products (FACQ / Cordes & Graefe)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Belgian Competition Authority approves the acquisition of the FACQ group by Cordes & Graefe KG* The Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has approved on 26 February 2021 the acquisition of the FACQ group by Cordes & Graefe KG. Through the (...)

The Belgian Government releases a draft bill to exclude clinical networking between hospitals from application of merger control
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 25 February 2021, the federal government submitted to the federal Chamber of Representatives a draft bill modifying the consolidated Law of 10 July 2008 regarding hospitals and other institutions of care (the Law), as regards the application of the merger control rules to clinical networking (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority authorizes with remedies the acquisition of a commercial vehicle dealer company by its competitor (Delorge group / Coox)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
Decision of the Competition College of the BCA in respect of the merger between the Delorge group and Coox* The Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has on 19 November 2020 authorized with remedies the acquisition by the Holding Groep Delorge BV (Groep Automotive (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority approves a request from a major cinema complex operator to lift one of the merger commitments previously imposed (Kinepolis)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 11 February 2020, the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) approved a request from the Kinepolis group, a major cinema complex operator, to lift one of the merger commitments which had been imposed on the group in the 90s. Since the creation of the Kinepolis group in 1997 following the (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority starts a phase II investigation into the acquisition of two companies active in the sector of the production and sales of soft wheat flour (Ceres / Dossche Mills)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
At the beginning of the year, the Belgian Competition Authority ("BCA") started a second phase investigation into the acquisition of Ceres NV by Dossche Mills, two companies active in the sector of production and sales of soft wheat flour for human consumption. The main issue concerned the (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes interim measures suspending a joint venture for sharing the mobile radio access networks (Telenet / Orange Belgium / Proximus)
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
,
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
,
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
On 22 November 2019, the Belgian companies Orange Belgium, SA/NV and Proximus, SA/NV concluded an agreement to create a joint venture for the sharing of the mobile radio access networks. However, the Telenet Group, SA/NV and Telenet, SPRL/BVBA ( jointly, ‘Telenet’) requested a deeper inquiry (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes an interim measure suspending the implementation of a shareholder’s agreement and the radio access network sharing agreement in the telecommunications market (Telenet / Orange Belgium / Proximus)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
Interim measure imposed on Orange and Proximus in respect of the joint venture for the sharing of the mobile radio access networks* The Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has at the request of Telenet Group NV and Telenet BVBA (Telenet) imposed on 8 January 2020 an (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes an interim measure to temporarily suspend the joint venture between two of the three main telecom companies in the national market (Telenet / Orange Belgium / Proximus)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 8 January, the Belgian Competition Authority ("BCA") imposed an interim measure to temporarily suspend the joint venture ("JV") between Orange and Proximus, two of the three main telecom players in the Belgian market. The cooperation between Orange and Proximus relates to the sharing of (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority extends the application of a simplified procedure for concentrations
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
,
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
,
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
The Belgian Competition Authority (‘BCA’) has extended the application of the simplified procedure on concentrations, which is contained in the Article IV.70 of the Belgian Code of Economic Law. These additional rules were approved on 8 January 2020 and they entered into force on 20 January 2020. (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority adopts new rules allowing its prosecutors to scrutinize and approve mergers under a simplified procedure
Ashurst (Brussels)
On 8 January 2020, the Belgian Competition Authority ("BCA") adopted new rules allowing the BCA prosecutors to scrutinise and approve mergers under the simplified procedure (without the need for a decision by the Competition College) in additional scenarios. As a result of these changes, the (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority clears a merger in the retail sector in stations and airports (International Duty Free / Lagardère Travel Retail)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Belgian Competition Authority approves the acquisition of International Duty Free S.A. by Lagardère Travel Retail S.A.S.* The Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has approved on 12 September 2019 the acquisition of International Duty Free S.A. (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority conditionally approves a sole control acquisition in the media market (De Vijver Media / Telenet)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 13 May 2019 the Belgian Competition Authority ("BCA") conditionally approved Telenet’s acquisition of sole control over De Vijver Media, after a referral by the European Commission ("EC"). The deal was originally notified to the EC on 4 October 2018. The EC already investigated Telenet’s (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority clears a merger subject to remedies in the TV channels platforms market (De Vijver Media / Telenet)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Competition College of the BCA has approved conditionally the acquisition of sole control of De Vijver Media by Telenet* the Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has approved conditionally on 13 May 2019 the acquisition of sole control by Telenet Group BVBA (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority accepts partially a request to lift the remedies imposed to clear a merger in the cinema theatres market (Kinepolis)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Belgian Competition Authority has partially accepted the request of Kinepolis to lift the conditions imposed in 1997 and modified in 2010, as from 25 March 2019* On 31 March 2017 Kinepolis has filed a request to lift the conditions imposed by the Competition Council in 1997 in respect of (...)

State Aid

The EU Court of Justice AG Kokott suggests annulling the judgment of the General Court and provides guidance on the concept of “aid scheme” in cases of tax rulings (Magnetrol International)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 3 December 2020, Advocate General Kokott delivered her opinion on the appeal brought against the judgment of the General Court in case Belgium and Magnetrol International v Commission (Cases T-131/16 and T-263/16) of 14 February 2019 (the “Judgment under appeal”), which had annulled Commission (...)

The EU Court of Justice AG Kokott thinks the Commission is right to consider that the Belgian practice of making downward adjustments to the profits of undertakings forming part of multinational groups constitutes an aid scheme (Magnetrol International)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Tax rulings: According to Advocate General Kokott, the Commission was right to consider that the Belgian practice of making downward adjustments to profits of undertakings forming part of multinational groups constituted an aid scheme* The judgment of the General Court of the European Union to (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth State aid investigation into the authorization granted by Belgium to a gambling company to operate virtual betting (Ladbrokes)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 23 October 2020, the European Commission (the Commission) published a notice (the Notice) inviting interested third parties to comment on the authorisation granted by Belgium to Derby NV, a local subsidiary of the betting and gambling company Ladbrokes PLC and operating in Belgium under the (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth State aid investigation into a Belgian capacity mechanism
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 October 2020, the European Commission (the Commission) published a notice (the Notice) inviting interested third parties to comment on Belgium’s proposed Capacity Mechanism (the CM). The Notice was published as part of an in-depth State aid investigation launched by the Commission on 21 (...)

The EU Commission approves a €290 million Belgian support to a national airline in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak (Brussels Airlines) Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €290 million Belgian support to Brussels Airlines in the context of the coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved a €290 million Belgian aid measure to support SN Group, which is composed of SN Airholding and its sole subsidiary Brussels Airlines, (...)

The EU Commission approves a €25 million Belgian State aid scheme to support COVID-19 related research and development activities in Wallonia Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €25 million Belgian aid scheme to support coronavirus related research and development activities in Wallonia* The European Commission has approved a €25 million Belgian aid scheme to support coronavirus related research and development (R&D) in Wallonia.The (...)

The EU Commission approves a Belgian €250 million subordinated loan scheme to support start-ups, scale-ups, and SMEs affected by the COVID-19 outbreak Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves Belgian €250 million subordinated loan scheme to support start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs affected by the coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved a Belgian scheme of €250 million, financed by the Flemish region, to support companies in the context (...)

The EU Commission approves a Belgian scheme of €530 million to support companies during the COVID-19 outbreak through guarantees Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
STATE AID: COMMISSION APPROVES GUARANTEE SCHEME OF UP TO €530 MILLION TO SUPPORT THE WALLOON ECONOMY IN CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK* The European Commission has approved a Belgian scheme of up to €530 million, financed by the Walloon region, to support companies in the context of the coronavirus (...)

The EU Commission approves €4 million Belgian scheme to support COVID-19 related research and development projects in the Brussels-Capital region Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €4 million Belgian scheme to support coronavirus related research and development projects* The European Commission has approved a €4 million Belgian direct grant scheme for the Brussels-Capital region to support coronavirus related research and development (...)

The EU Commission approves Belgian €200,000 direct grant scheme to support agricultural and aquaculture sectors in Brussels-Capital region following COVID-19 outbreak Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €200,000 direct grant scheme to support agricultural and aquaculture sectors in Brussels-Capital region following coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved a €200,000 Belgian regional scheme to support agricultural and aquaculture sectors in the (...)

The EU Commission approves Belgian guarantee scheme mobilising €50 billion support for companies affected by COVID-19 outbreak Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves Belgian guarantee scheme mobilising €50 billion support for companies affected by coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €50 billion Belgian loan guarantee scheme to support the Belgian economy in the context of the (...)

The EU Commission approves Belgian scheme deferring payment by Walloon airports of concession fees to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 outbreak Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves Belgian scheme deferring payment by Walloon airports of concession fees to mitigate economic impact of coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved a Belgian scheme deferring the payment by Walloon airports of concession feesto mitigate the economic (...)

The EU Commission approves Belgian guarantee scheme of up to €3 billion to support the Flemish economy in COVID-19 outbreak Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves guarantee scheme of up to €3 billion to support the Flemish economy in coronavirus outbreak* The European Commission has approved a Belgian scheme of up to €3 billion, financed by the Flemish region, to support companies in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. (...)

The EU General Court delivers its first judgment on State aid through tax rulings by annulling the Commission’s decision on the Belgian excess profit ruling system (Magnetrol International)
Clifford Chance (Brussels)
This article has been nominated for the 2020 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. On 14 February 2019, the EU General Court annulled the European Commission’s State aid decision relating to the Belgian excess profit ruling system. The General (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s State aid decision on Belgian express profit rulings (Magnetrol International)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 14 February 2019, the EU General Court annulled the European Commission’s ("EC") State aid decision of 11 January 2016 on Belgian excess profit rulings ("EPR"). Unlike most State tax aid cases, the Belgian EPR case is not about individual aid but about an aid scheme as defined in Article (...)

The EU General Court points out the methodological weakness of the Commission analysis in a State aid case (Magnetrol International)
Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
Apart from the first plea alleging infringement of the exclusive competence of Member States in the field of direct taxation, which would preclude the Commission’s control of State aid, and which was dismissed by the General Court (“GC”), the object of the judgment delivered was technical. It (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s State aid decision regarding the Belgian excess profits tax ruling system (Magnetrol International)
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
,
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
In a Decision of 11 January 2016, the European Commission declared the Belgian excess profit scheme, pursuant to which Belgium granted advance tax rulings authorising Belgian entities which were part of multinational groups to exempt part of their profits from corporate income taxation, (...)

Procedures

The Belgian Competition Authority switches completely to teleworking due to COVID-19 and invites companies to delay all non-urgent mergers Free
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
COVID-19 measures* The offices of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) are closed until further notice. All staff members are teleworking and the handling of cases will continue. While we strive to ensure the continuity of public service, the containment measures imposed by the Government (...)

The Belgian Federal Government mitigates the negative effects of the COVID-19 crisis on Belgian companies and associations in light of the current lockdown measures Free
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
As is the case in many other European countries, the Belgian Federal Government is trying to further mitigate the negative effects of the Covid-19 crisis on Belgian companies and associations in light of the current confinement measures. Amongst other initiatives, it is preparing a draft act (...)

The Belgian Federal Parliament adopts an Act reforming the competition law introducing technical legislative improvements such as streamlining procedures, formalising existing administrative practices and updating terminology
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 25 April 2019, the Belgian Federal Parliament adopted an Act reforming Belgian competition law (please note that the version of the Act adopted by the Parliament is not public yet and our analysis below is based on the fact that no amendments have been adopted to the version which was (...)

Regulatory

The Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourg Competition Authorities advocate for an ex ante competition law enforcement in the digital world
Court of First Instance of Namur (Namur)
On 2 October 2019, the Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourg competition authorities took the unusual step of adopting a joint memorandum on the role of the competition authorities in a digital world. This joint memorandum discusses merger control issues, the need for guidance in fast-moving digital (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes interim measures in a public procurement procedure in the broadcasting transmission market (Norkring / Broadcast Partners)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
This decision of 22 January 2019 is the next step in an eventful public procurement procedure and it confirms the preference of the Belgian Competition Authority ("BCA") to tackle cases via interim measures. Norkring has a service agreement to transmit the FM broadcasts of VRT that runs until (...)

All issues

  • Latest News issue 
  • All News issues
  • Latest Special issue 
  • All Special issues