Competition weekly news summary
Friday, June 26, 2009

Mergers

  • Commission approves proposed acquisition of Essent by RWE, subject to conditions
    23 June 2009
    The Commission cleared the proposed acquisition of Essent of the Netherlands by RWE of Germany. Both companies are active in the electricity and gas sectors. The Commission's decision is conditional upon RWE's commitment to divest Essent's controlling shareholding in Stadtwerke Bremen AG (swb). RWE agreed to this divestment to remedy competition concerns the Commission had in relation to the German wholesale electricity and gas markets.
  • Commission approves proposed acquisition of Nuon Energy by Vattenfall, subject to conditions
    22 June 2009
    The Commission cleared the proposed acquisition of N. V. Nuon Energy of the Netherlands by Vattenfall AB of Sweden. Both companies are active in the energy sector. The Commission's decision is conditional upon the divestment of part of Nuon Energy's German retail operations. Vattenfall agreed to this divestment to remedy competition concerns the Commission had in relation to retail supplies of electricity to small commercial and domestic customers in Hamburg and Berlin.
  • Commission clears proposed takeover of SN Brussels Airlines by Lufthansa, subject to conditions
    22 June 2009
    The Commission cleared the proposed acquisition of SN Airholding (the holding company of SN Brussels Airlines) by Deutsche Lufthansa AG of Germany. Following an in-depth investigation, opened in January 2009 (see IP/09/129), the Commission found that the transaction, as originally notified, would have raised competition concerns on the routes Brussels-Frankfurt, Brussels-Munich, Brussels-Hamburg and Brussels-Zürich. To address these concerns, Lufthansa submitted a set of remedies, offering an efficient and timely slot allocation mechanism that would allow new entrants to operate flights on each of the four routes where the Commission had concerns.

State aid

  • Commission refers Italy to Court for failure to respect Court ruling to recover illegal aid
    25 June 2009
    The Commission referred Italy to the European Court of Justice for failure to implement a 2004 ruling by the Court of Justice (case C-99/02) confirming a Commission decision of 1999 finding that Italy had granted illegal and incompatible aid and ordering its recovery. The illegal aid in question took the form of exemptions from social security contributions in cases where companies could not prove that new jobs had been created or that the workers hired had special difficulties entering the employment market. Although over five years have elapsed since this judgement, Italy has still only recovered a small part of the overall aid amount estimated at about 281 million euros. The Commission therefore now requests the ECJ to impose fines on Italy under Article 228 of the EC Treaty.
  • Commission requests Belgium and the UK to implement Transparency Directive
    25 June 2009
    The Commission addressed reasoned opinions, the second step of infringement procedures under Article 226 EC Treaty, to Belgium and the UK for their failure to implement the Directive on the transparency of financial relations between Member States and public undertakings (80/723/EEC - see IP/00/763). Member States were required to implement the Directive in national law by 19 December 2006. Belgium and the UK now have two months to notify to the Commission the measures they have taken to implement the Directive. Failing this, the Commission may refer them to the European Court of Justice.
  • Commission adopts guidance on in-depth assessment of regional aid to large investment projects
    24 June 2009
    The Commission adopted a guidance paper setting out criteria for the in-depth assessment of regional aid to large investment projects. The paper outlines the kind of information required by the Commission for its detailed compatibility assessment and the assessment methodology, which is based on the balancing of the positive and negative effects of the aid.
  • Commission adopts guidance on in-depth assessment of regional aid to large investment projects - frequently asked questions
    24 June 2009
  • Commission approves Finnish export-credit insurance scheme
    22 June 2009
    The Commission authorised a Finnish measure to limit the adverse impact of the current financial crisis on export firms. The measure is in line with EU state aid rules, because it requires market-oriented remuneration and tackles the problem of the current unavailability of short-term export credit insurance cover in the private market.
  • Commission approves budget increase for Austrian real economy crisis measure
    19 June 2009
    The Commission authorised a budget increase of €10 billion for an Austrian temporary aid scheme to help businesses deal with the current economic crisis, initially approved on 20 March 2009 (see IP/09/454). The amendment concerns the possibility to grant public guarantees to large enterprises on the basis of the national "Unternehmensliquidätsstärkungsgesetz". The measure is in line with the EU state aid rules, because is limited in time and only applies to companies that were not in difficulties on 1 July 2008.

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Published by the Competition Directorate General of the European Commission. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the official position of the European Commission. Neither the Commission nor any person acting on its behalf is responsible for the use which might be made of the above information.

© European Union, 2009. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

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