Competition weekly news summary
Friday, January 8, 2010

Antitrust

  • Commission opens formal proceedings against pharmaceutical company Lundbeck
    7 January 2010
    The Commission opened a formal antitrust investigation into the international pharma company Lundbeck to examine potential breaches of EU rules on restrictive business practices and on the abuse of a dominant market position. The Commission in particular intends to investigate unilateral behaviour and agreements by Lundbeck which may hinder the entry of generic citalopram into markets in the European Economic Area.
  • Improved transparency and predictability of proceedings
    6 January 2010
    Detailed explanations on how European Commission antitrust procedures work in practice have been published by DG Competition and the Hearing Officers on the Europa website. The explanations are outlined in three documents, namely Best Practices for antitrust proceedings, Best Practices for the submission of economic evidence (both in antitrust and merger proceedings) and Guidance on the role of the Hearing Officers. The documents will make it easier for companies under investigation to understand how the investigation will proceed, what they can expect from the Commission and what the Commission will expect from them. Stakeholders are invited to submit comments on the documents within 8 weeks.
  • European Commission extends consultation on draft measures for IP traffic exchange in Poland
    5 January 2010
    The Commission informed the Polish telecoms regulator UKE that it has serious doubts whether UKE is right to define two separate markets for IP traffic exchange (IP transit and IP peering with the network of Telekomunikacja Polska). During the following two months the Commission will assess further market data from UKE and consult with market players.
  • Commission launches public consultation on review of competition rules for motor vehicle sector
    21 December 2009
    The Commission is inviting comments on its proposal for a revised Block Exemption Regulation and Guidelines on motor vehicle sales and repair agreements. In particular, following stakeholders' comments, the Commission considers that a specific block exemption is no longer warranted for the sale of new cars and commercial vehicles. However, the Commission proposes to adopt a new block exemption for repair and maintenance services, where competition appears to be more limited. The current Regulation (1400/2002) is due to expire in May 2010.

Mergers

  • Commission clears proposed acquisition of Cadbury by Kraft Foods, subject to conditions
    6 January 2010
    The Commission identified competition concerns within chocolate confectionery in Poland and Romania, where the combined market share of Kraft/Cadbury is particularly high and their brands are competing closely. To remedy these concerns, Kraft committed to divest Cadbury's Polish confectionery business marketed under the Wedel brand and Cadbury's domestic chocolate confectionery business in Romania. After market testing the proposed commitments, the Commission concluded that they would remove the competition concerns identified.
  • Commission approves proposed acquisition of Emcon by Faurecia
    6 January 2010
    The parties' activities overlap in the manufacture and supply of exhaust systems for passenger cars. However, the Commission's investigation found that the proposed merger would not give rise to any significant competition concerns, given the degree of competition and substantial buyer power that exist in this market.
  • Commission approves proposed acquisition of MCE by Bilfinger Berger, subject to conditions
    18 December 2009
    In order to address the competition concerns identified by the Commission, Bilfinger Berger offered to divest its subsidiary MCE Energietechnik GmbH, which is specialised in the installation of high pressure pipes but also offers complementary services. In addition, a large MCE high pressure pipe project will be transferred from another MCE subsidiary to the Divestment Business. Following a market test, the Commission concluded that the commitments offered by Bilfinger Berger would remedy its competition concerns.
  • Commission clears proposed acquisition of Tronox titanium dioxide plants by Huntsman
    18 December 2009
    Huntsman intends to acquire Tronox's titanium dioxide manufacturing facilities in the US and The Netherlands, as well as a 50% share of a titanium ore mining and titanium dioxide manufacturing joint venture in Australia. The Commission's market investigation confirmed that the proposed acquisition would be unlikely to raise competition concerns. Huntsman will continue to face global competition for the various titanium dioxide applications from other manufacturers with significant shares of the market.
  • Commission approves proposed acquisition of Mahag by Volkswagen
    18 December 2009
    The Commission’s examination of the proposed transaction showed that the horizontal overlaps between the activities of VW and Mahag were limited and that, for all products concerned, the merged entity would continue to face effective competition. As regards the vertically concerned markets, such as the development and manufacturing of passenger cars and of original VW parts, the Commission concluded that there would be no risk of any of the markets being closed off, as a sufficient number of alternative and competing sources of supply would remain active in the markets.
  • Commission approves acquisition of Seara by Marfrig
    18 December 2009
    The Commission’s examination of the proposed transaction showed that the parties' activities would overlap in the supply of primary chicken meat and processed chicken meat mainly in the UK and The Netherlands. However, these overlaps are limited and the new entity would continue to face several effective competitors with considerable market share.

State aid

  • Commission approves Polish bank recapitalisation scheme
    21 December 2009
    The Commission approved a Polish scheme aimed at maintaining stability in the Polish financial sector by underwriting capital increases to eligible financial institutions. The Commission found the recapitalisation scheme to be in line with EU state aid rules, because it is limited in time and scope, requires market oriented remuneration and contains sufficient safeguards to avoid abuses.
  • Commission approves Lithuanian short-term export credit insurance scheme
    21 December 2009
    The Commission authorised a measure adopted by Lithuania to limit the adverse impact of the current financial crisis on exporting firms. The Commission found the measure to be in line with EU state aid rules, because it requires a market-oriented remuneration and concerns insurance cover that is currently insufficient on the private market.
  • Commission temporarily approves €18 billion state guarantees for German bank Hypo Real Estate
    21 December 2009
    The Commission temporarily approved two state guarantees of €8 billion and €10 billion respectively for the German bank Hypo Real Estate (HRE). The guarantees will be used by HRE to cover urgent liquidity needs of the bank. These, as well as previous rescue measures in favour of HRE, will be taken into due account when the Commission takes its final decision on HRE's restructuring plan.

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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.

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