Competition weekly news summary
Friday, June 25, 2010

Conferences and Speeches

  • "BATHROOM FITTINGS CARTEL"
    Remarks at press conference, Brussels, Joaquín Almunia
    23 June 2010
    "The Commission will continue to enforce the competition rules, and will continue to protect law abiding companies and citizens from those who conspire against them. We will continue to set fines at a level that acts as a real deterrent. At the same time, the Commission is aware that some companies, particularly in today’s economic climate, may be in financial difficulties. Those companies should not be made bankrupt because of the Commission's fine. Where their financial difficulties are real, the Commission will take that into account and lower the fine."
    Read full speech >

Antitrust

  • "Commission fines 17 bathroom equipment manufacturers € 622 million in price fixing cartel
    23 June 2010
    The Commission fined 17 bathroom equipment manufacturers a total of over €622 million for a price fixing cartel covering six EU countries. The 12 year cartel covered ceramics such as sinks, baths, taps, and fittings. The fines of five undertakings were reduced because of their likely inability to pay the fine given their financial situation.
    Read more >
  • "Commission re-adopts fine on Bolloré for participation in carbonless paper cartel
    23 June 2010
    The Commission has re-adopted a decision fining Bolloré €21 million for its participation in price-fixing and market-sharing agreements in the carbonless paper sector, following the annulment of the previous decision by the Court of Justice for procedural reasons (case T-109/02). The new decision imposes the same fine as the original decision, save for a reduction of about €1.4 million to take into account Bolloré's cooperation in the new decision.
    Read more >
    Read more about the original decision >
    Read judgment in case T-109/02>
  • "Commission sends Statement of Objections to suspected participants in window mountings cartel
    22 June 2010
    The Commission sent a Statement of Objections to nine European producers of mountings for windows and window-doors. The Commission believes it has evidence for their participation in a cartel for mountings used to open and close windows and terrace- and balcony-doors.
    Read more >

Mergers

  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into Syngenta's acquisition of Monsanto's sunflower seed business
    21 June 2010
    The Commission opened an in-depth investigation into the proposed acquisition of the global sunflower seed business of Monsanto of the US by Syngenta of Switzerland. The Commission's initial investigation indicated potential competition concerns with respect to the breeding and commercialisation of sunflower seeds and sunflower seed treatment products in Europe.
    Read more >

State aid

  • Commission extends Austrian and Latvian bank support schemes
    25 June 2010
    The Commission has authorised the extension until the end of 2010 of bank support schemes in Austria and in Latvia. The extended schemes feature higher premiums to be paid by banks to the State for guaranteeing the loans they raise on the market. This is to encourage banks to finance themselves without state support and to limit distortions of competition.
    Read more >
  • Commission extends bank guarantee scheme in Germany and recapitalisation scheme in Hungary
    23 June 2010
    The Commission authorised the extension until 31 December 2010 of a German and a Hungarian bank support scheme. The extended German scheme features higher premiums to be paid by the banks for the guarantees granted by the State. This is to encourage banks to finance themselves without state support and to limit distortions of competition. The vast majority of bank support schemes, put in place in 2008 and 2009 to ensure financial stability during the crisis, expire on 30 June 2010. In agreement with EU Finance Ministers, the extension of guarantee schemes is subject to higher fees paid to governments and, for banks that continue to rely heavily on them, to a viability review.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves €390 million aid for increase of gas storage capacity in Poland
    23 June 2010
    The Commission authorised Poland to grant a €390 million aid for the construction or capacity increase of four underground gas storage sites. The projects are in line with EU state aid rules because they will help to increase the security of gas supply in Poland and are open to all operators at regualted conditions.
    Read more >
  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into aid granted to SEA Handling
    23 June 2010
    The Commission opened an in-depth investigation into compensation for losses incurred by SEA Handling, an Italian groundhandling company operating at airports in Milan. The losses have been absorbed by the Italian authorities since 2002 through the public airport operator at Milan Malpensa and Milan Linate airports. At this stage, the Commission doubts whether the compensation is compatible with EU state aid rules.
    Read more >
  • Commission prolongs temporary approval of aid to German WestLB and to Austrian Hypo Alpe Adria Group
    22 June 2010
    The Commission prolonged the temporary approval of state aid to WestLB of Germany and to Hypo Alpe Adria Group (HGAA) of Austria. The extensions are valid until the conclusion of the in-depth state aid investigations into both banks.
    Read more >

Court

  • Case T-66/01 Imperial Chemical Industries / Commission
    25 June 2010
    The General Court ruled on an appeal by the UK chemical company Imperial Chemical Industries against a Commission decision of 2000 that had fined the company for its participation in a soda ash cartel. The Court rejected the majority of the appeal and solely lowered the fine by 5% because the company could not be considered a repeat offender. The remainder of the Commission's decision was confirmed.
    Read full judgment >
    Read more on the Commission's decision of 2000

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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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