Competition weekly news summary
Friday, July 24, 2009

Conferences and Speeches

  • Commission Enforcement Policy and the Need for a Competitive Solution to the Crisis
    Address to the Irish Centre for European Law, Dublin, Neelie Kroes
    17 July 2009
    "For me, the win-win results I am looking for are where (i) the banks are viable without state support, (ii) the taxpayers, my shareholders, escape a huge bill, (iii) non-aided banks are not punished because of aid given and (iv) the bank has a business model that reduces systemic risk."

Mergers

  • Commission clears Pfizer's proposed acquisition of Wyeth, subject to conditions
    17 July 2009
    The Commission approved the acquisition of the pharmaceutical and health care products company Wyeth by Pfizer, both of the US. The approval is conditional upon Pfizer's commitment to divest several types of animal health vaccines, pharmaceuticals and medicinal feed additives in the EEA or in specific Member States. The Commission had concerns that the transaction, as originally notified, would have raised competition issues in the field of animal health products on a number of national markets.
  • Commission approves proposed acquisition of Saeco by Philips
    17 July 2009
    The Commission's examination showed that the products of Philips and Saeco do not compete closely with each other and that the combined firm would continue to face several strong competitors with significant market shares. The Commission's investigation also found that the merged entity would have neither the ability nor the incentive to close off the market to competing coffee maker manufacturers.
  • Commission approves proposed acquisition of Stiefel by GSK
    17 July 2009
    The Commission’s investigation showed that the relevant horizontal overlaps between the activities of GSK and Stiefel are limited to a number of products in the dermatological sector and that the combined firm would continue to face several strong, effective competitors with significant market shares for these products. The Commission also ruled out competition concerns due to possible vertical relationships between the parties' contract manufacturing activities and their activities in marketing pharmaceuticals.

Antitrust

State aid

  • Commission authorises €82 million of innovative film tax incentives; opens investigation into Italian digital cinema support
    23 July 2009
    The Commission auhtorised Italy’s €82 million package of film tax incentives until 31 December 2010. The incentives aim to stimulate investment from outside the film production sector into European cultural films and to support the distribution of such films and are compatible with the cultural derogation of the EC Treaty. The Commission also opened a formal investigation into a proposed 30% tax credit for installing digital projection equipment in Italian cinemas because it has concerns that the measure may mainly benefit large multiplexes which should need less support.
  • Commission finds recapitalization of Hypo Steiermark does not constitute state aid
    23 July 2009
    The Commission found that a recapitalization of Hypo Steiermark, a regional Austrian bank, which was carried out by the public and the private owners pro rata to the pre-existing ownership structure does not constitute state aid.
  • Commission presents guidelines on restructuring aid to banks
    23 July 2009
    The Commission published guidance on its approach to assessing restructuring aid given by Member States to banks. The approach is based on three fundamental principles: i) aided banks must be made viable in the long term without further state support, ii) aided banks and their owners must carry a fair burden of the restructuring costs and iii) measures must be taken to limit distortions of competition in the Single Market.
  • Commission presents guidelines on restructuring aid to banks - frequently asked questions
    23 July 2009
  • Commission endorses Austrian aid to green electricity producers; opens in-depth inquiry into potential aid for large energy users
    22 July 2009
    The Commission authorised subsidised feed-in tariffs in Austria for producers of environmental-friendly electricity. The measures are designed to increase electricity production from renewable energy sources without granting over-compensation for extra costs incurred. They are therefore in line with the requirements of the Environmental Aid Guidelines (see MEMO/08/31). The Commission also opened an in-depth investigation to establish whether certain provisions of the new Austrian Green Electricity Act, which may favour large energy consumers, infringe the state aid rules.
  • Commission approves €251 million aid for Gdansk shipyard in Poland
    22 July 2009
    Following an in-depth investigation opened in June 2005 (see IP/05/644), the Commission authorised various support measures worth €251 million in favour of the Gdansk Shipyard in Poland. The restructuring project will to a large extent be financed from private resources raised by the yard and its owner. The Commission concluded that the plan will ensure the viability of the yard and that the distortions of competition, caused by years of subsidised operations, will be adequately reduced by production capacity closures.
  • Commission approves second amendment to German crisis measure allowing aid of up to €500 000
    20 July 2009
    The Commission authorised an amendment to a German scheme allowing aid of up to €500 000 per company in 2009 and 2010, initially approved in December 2008 (see IP/08/2063). The amendment concerns the calculation method of the aid element of public guarantees and is in line with the Commission's Temporary Framework for state aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis (see IP/08/1993).

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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