Competition weekly news summary
Friday, July 10, 2009

Conferences and Speeches

  • E.ON and GDF gas market sharing, GDF commitments, Pharmaceutical Sector Inquiry Final Report
    Press Conference, Brussels, Neelie Kroes
    8 July 2009
    "Clearly, the proper functioning of competition in the pharmaceuticals sector is crucial to all of us as both patients and taxpayers in terms of prices and in terms of access to innovative products. Unfortunately, the report confirms that there are competition problems in the pharma sector and that company practices are a significant factor behind them."

Mergers

  • Commission approves proposed creation of biobutanol production technology joint venture between BP and Dupont
    8 July 2009
    The Commission cleared the proposed creation of a joint venture between BP Biofuels North America and du Pont de Nemours, both of the US. The Joint Venture would be active in the development and commercialisation of production technologies for biobutanol, a fuel component produced from biomass. The Commission found no competition concerns.
  • Commission approves acquisition of Noble European Holdings by ArcelorMittal
    8 July 2009
    The Commission cleared the proposed acquisition of the Dutch company Noble European Holdings, a subsidiary of Noble International Ltd. of the US, by ArcelorMittal of Luxembourg. The Commission's investigation showed that the parties' activities do not overlap in the EEA and that their vertical relationship would not lead to any significant change in the EEA market structure.
  • Commission approves joint acquisition of USP Group by Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland
    6 July 2009
    The Commission cleared the proposed acquisition of joint control over the USP Group, a private network of medical assistance services mostly active in Spain, by Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), both retail and investment banks. Neither Barclays nor RBS are present on any market where USP is active. In addition, there are no vertical or conglomerate concerns.

Antitrust

State aid

  • Commission authorises restructuring aid for Kaupthing Bank Luxembourg
    9 July 2009
    The Commission authorised a loan of €320 million granted by Luxembourg for the restructuring of Kaupthing Bank Luxembourg S.A. The measure is in line with the state aid rules, because it will contribute to the stability of the financial system while avoiding undue distortions of competition.
  • Commission endorses Dutch "Groepsrentebox" tax break scheme
    8 July 2009
    The Commission found that a Dutch plan to apply reduced taxation on revenue from intra-group loans (the "Groepsrentebox" scheme) does not constitute state aid and has closed a formal investigation procedure opened in 2007 (see IP/07/154).
  • Commission approves French Temporary Framework risk-capital scheme
    7 July 2009
    The Commission authorised a French measure allowing federal and local authorities to participate in risk-capital investment structures, in order to facilitate SMEs' access to risk capital. The measure is in line with EU state aid rules, because it respects the thresholds for investment tranches and private participation and is limited in time until 31 December 2010.

Court

  • Commission welcomes Court of First Instance judgment on parallel exports of Peugeot cars
    9 July 2009
    The Court of First Instance ruled on an appeal by Peugeot (case T-450/05) against a Commission decision of October 2005, fining Peugeot for having obstructed new car exports from The Netherlands in violation of Article 81 EC Treaty (see IP/05/1227). The CFI confirmed the Commission’s decision punishing Peugeot for this violation but reduced the level of fine imposed from €49.5 million to €44.55 million because it found that the Commission had not taken sufficiently into account the role that price differentials had played in reducing exports.
  • C-511/06 Archer Daniels Midland v Commission
    9 July 2009
    The Court of Justice ruled on an appeal by Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) against a Court of First Instance ruling of 27 September 2006 (case T-59/02). The CFI ruling had upheld a Commission decision of 5 December 2001 finding a wordlwide cartel on the markets for citric acid. The ECJ confirmed the Commission's finding of an infringement of the competition rules, but reduced ADM's fine from €39.6 to €29.4 million because it held that proof for ADM's role as a cartel leader could not be relied upon for procedural reasons.

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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 Communities, 2009. Reproduction is authorised, provided the source is acknowledged