Antitrust sanctions before the French NCA: A review of the 2011 Guidelines

Law & Economics Workshop organized by Concurrences Review with Allen & Overy and MAPP.

Florence Ninane

In France, the specific nature of the accounting system, which includes back margins in suppliers’ sales, has led to a broadening of the basis for sanctions, giving priority to the legal reality to the detriment of the economic reality.

I would like to take up the criteria laid down in the communiqué on sanctions and analyse how the Competition Authority has been able to implement them or, on the contrary, to deviate from them in its decision-making practice. A few data from the decisions taken in the last two years illustrate the importance of this subject. 2015 is a record year in terms of sanctions (total of 1.25 billion Euros), even if two important cases (Orange and Messaging) can explain it. In 2014, similarly, the hygiene and cleaning products case accounts for the bulk of the record amount of fines imposed that year, which exceeded one billion Euros. Since the publication of the statement on penalties in 2011, 48 appeals have been lodged, 39 have been examined and 35 decisions of the Authority have been confirmed.

Photos © Léo-Paul Ridet.

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