Competition weekly news summary
Friday, May 21, 2010

Conferences and Speeches

  • First cartel decision under settlement procedure
    Introductory Remarks Press conference, Brussels, Joaquín Almunia
    19 May 2010
    "You may think that to use the word 'settlement' next to the word 'cartel' sounds quite strange. So let me explain, right away, that we are not compromising on cartels. With or without a "settlement". A cartel is the worst violation of competition rules since its object is to collude against the interests of other companies and of consumers. But the settlement procedure – available since 2008 but never used until today - allows the Commission to speed up its investigations if the companies acknowledge the violations, thereby freeing up resources more rapidly to investigate other suspected cartels."
    Read full speech >
  • "Competition and Consumers - the future of EU competition policy"
    European Competition Day, Madrid, Joaquín Almunia
    12 May 2010
    "Our objective is to make consumers enjoy the benefits of competition: more choice, better quality, lower prices."
    Read full speech in Spanish >

Antitrust

  • Commission fines DRAM producers € 331 million for price cartel; reaches first settlement in a cartel case
    19 May 2010
    The Commission has adopted its first settlement decision in a cartel case involving 10 producers of memory chips or DRAMS used in computers and servers. The fine totalling €331 273 800 includes a reduction of 10% for the companies' acknowledgement of their liability. Cartel settlements allow the Commission to speed up investigations, free up resources to deal with other cases and generally improve the efficiency of its antitrust enforcement.
    Read more >
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  • Commission confirms unannounced inspections in the sector of stretch film for agricultural use
    12 May 2010
    On 28th and 29th April 2010 Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of companies active in the bale wrap industry and on related markets in several Member States. Bale wrap is plastic stretch film used for the packaging and preservation of silage, hay or straw. The Commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated EU antitrust rules.
    Read more >

Mergers

  • Commission approves proposed acquisition of NWR Energy by Dalkia Ceská republika
    17 May 2010
    The proposed transaction gives rise to a number of vertical relationships between the parties. However, the Commission's investigation found that the proposed transaction would not close off the market to competition, given that a sufficient number of competitors would remain and due to the low market shares in the related upstream/downstream markets.
    Read more >
  • Commission authorises proposed acquisition of 50Hertz by Elia and Industry Funds Management
    10 May 2010
    The Commission's investigation confirmed that the proposed merger would not close off the market to competition, because of the low market shares in the related upstream markets for the generation and wholesale supply of electricity and balancing power and ancillary services. In these markets a sufficient number of competitors would remain after the transaction. In addition, the regulatory framework in which the transmission network is operated ensures that access to the grids is granted on a non-discriminatory basis and at regulated tariffs.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves proposed acquisition of various Quelle assets by Otto
    10 May 2010
    The Commission concluded that the effects of the proposed acquisition are essentially confined to Switzerland and that the acquisition of the assets of Quelle Switzerland would not lead to a significant impediment to effective competition in any EEA Member State.
    Read more >

State aid

  • Commission approves restructuring of Belgian insurance company Ethias
    20 May 2010
    The Commission approved a €1.5 billion recapitalisation provided by Belgium in the context of the restructuring of Ethias, a Belgian insurer that ran into severe difficulties in 2008, in the wake of the financial crisis. The Commission concluded that Ethias' restructuring plan is appropriate to restore the company's viability, while addressing competition distortions brought about by the state support.
    Read more >
  • Commission opens in-depth inquiry into €20 million capital injections into Elan of Slovenia
    12 May 2010
    The Commission opened an in-depth investigation into capital injections to two subsidiaries of the state owned company Elan Skupina in Slovenia. The Slovenian authorities consider the €20 million injections into ski producer Elan and yacht builder Elan Marine do not constitute State aid. At this stage, the Commission has doubts as to the qualification of the measures and will examine whether a private investor would have accepted to carry out these capital injections under the same conditions.
    Read more >
  • Commission clears Swedish restructuring aid for Carnegie Investment Bank
    12 May 2010
    The Commission has authorised Swedish aid for the restructuring of Carnegie Investment Bank. The Commission found that Carnegie's restructuring plan adequately addressed the problems that led to the bail-out of the bank in 2008, whilst avoiding undue distortions of competition.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves tax exemptions for Finnish Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
    12 May 2010
    The Commission authorised the introduction of "Real Estate Investment Trusts" (REITs) in Finland. These REITs will be exempted from corporate income tax in order to encourage investment in affordable rental housing. Subject to certain changes to be implemented by Finland, the Commission is satisfied that the scheme does not involve state aid, as any profits made by the trusts will be subject to tax at shareholders' level.
    Read more >
  • Overview of national measures adopted as a response to the financial/economic crisis
    12 May 2010
    Go to Overview >

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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, 2010. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

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