Competition weekly news summary
Friday, July 9, 2010

Conferences and Speeches

  • "Competition in Digital Media and the Internet"
    UCL Jevons Lecture, London, Joaquín Almunia
    7 July 2010
    "The digital economy has been singled out in our Europe 2020 growth strategy as one of the pillars of economic recovery. This means that it is our political mandate to ensure that this sector grows to its full potential. It is clear to me that competition policy must be a key part of this strategy as a way to ensure market access and opportunities to all efficient players capable of delivering new value."
    Read full speech >

Antitrust

  • Car prices fell only slightly in 2009 whereas prices for repairs and maintenance continued to rise despite the crisis
    9 July
    The Commission’s latest report on car prices shows that prices in the EU converged within the Single Market and fell slightly, in real terms, in 2009. At the same time prices for repair and maintenance services and for spare parts continued to rise well above inflation, confirming the need for the stricter competition rules, put in place for the sector on 1 June 2010.
    Read more >
  • Commission welcomes decrease of potentially problematic patent settlements in EU pharma sector
    5 July 2010
    The number of patent settlements in the pharmaceutical sector that are potentially problematic under the EU's antitrust rules fell from 22% of the total number of settlements to 10%. This is the main finding of a Commission report on the monitoring of patent settlements. It is good news for consumers that cheaper generic drugs are not being unduly kept out or delayed from the market.
    Read more >

Mergers

  • Commission approves proposed acquisition of Privileg Rights by Whirlpool
    7 July 2010
    The activities of Whirlpool and Privileg overlap in major and small domestic appliances. However, the Commission's investigation showed that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns as numerous competitors are active in the relevant markets and will continue to exercise significant competitive constraints on the parties.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves acquisition of Millipore by Merck
    7 July 2010
    The parties' activities overlap modestly with respect to the markets for Luminex immunoassays and air monitoring systems. However, the parties' combined market shares remain relatively low with only modest increments resulting from the transaction. Given also the presence of strong alternative competitors, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction does not raise competition concerns.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves proposed acquisition of Volvo cars by Geely and Daqing
    6 July 2010
    The Commission’s examination of the proposed transaction showed that the horizontal overlaps between the activities of the companies were very limited, since Geely has almost no passenger car sales in Europe. Furthermore, Volvo's very limited presence in the field of supply of diverse car components would not allow the merged entity to close off other market players.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves acquisition of joint control of Círculo by Bertelsmann and Planeta
    5 July 2010
    The Commission's assessment showed that the proposed transaction would not give rise to any competition concerns, because Planeta's and Círculo's combined market share remains limited, with only small increments resulting from the transaction.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves acquisition of Bell Micro by Avnet
    2 July 2010
    The Commission's investigation showed that the merged entity would continue to face competitive constraint from numerous competitors. In addition, manufacturers of IT products have partnerships with several distributors and are able to appoint new distributors. IT manufacturers also sell directly to resellers and retailers, thereby bypassing wholesalers.
    Read more >

State aid

  • Commission endorses €45 million aid to Deutsche Solar AG for solar wafer plant
    6 July 2010
    The Commission authorised €45 million of regional investment aid for the German company Deutsche Solar AG for the production of solar wafers in Freiberg, Germany. The Commission found the aid to be in line with EU state aid rules, because the positive impact of the investment on regional development outweighs the potential distortions of competition.
    Read more >
  • Commission authorises €3 million compensation for supplementary pension liabilities of Finnish shipping company Arctia Shipping Oy
    6 July 2010
    The Commission authorised a Finnish aid to compensate the shipping company Arctia Shipping Oy for supplementary pension rights accrued by its staff before Finland opened the ice-breaking activity to competition. The Commission considers this measure necessary to put the company on an equal footing with its competitors.
    Read more >
  • Commission authorises €28.7 million aid to Liebherr for investment project in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
    6 July 2010
    The Commission authorised €28.7 million of regional investment aid that Germany intends to grant in favour of Liebherr-MCCtec Rostock GmbH for the extension of its production facility for ship and offshore cranes in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. The Commission concluded that the projects positive contribution to regional development outweighs any potential distortions of competition to be brought about by the aid.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves UK pension scheme NEST
    6 July 2010
    The Commission approved the establishment of an occupational pension scheme, branded NEST, in the UK to ensure that all employees have access to an affordable pension vehicle. The Commission found the measure to be compatible with EU State aid rules, because NEST carries out a service of general economic interest and receives no overcompensation for providing it.
    Read more >

Court

  • Commission welcomes General Court rulings in Ryanair case
    6 July 2010
    The Commission welcomes the judgment of the EU General Court, dismissing Ryanair's appeal against its decision of June 2007 that prohibited the acquisition of Aer Lingus by Ryanair. The Commission's decision found that the merger would have removed the intense competition between the two leading Irish airlines. The Court in particular acknowledged the Commission's very detailed and careful analysis of the competitive effects and the proposed remedies. The Court validated the Commission's practice of analysing the impact of airline mergers on a route-by-route basis, focussing on market entry and accepting only remedies that resolve the identified competition concerns. In a separate ruling, the Court also endorsed the Commission's assessment that it had no jurisdiction to require Ryanair to divest its minority shareholding in Aer Lingus.
    Read more >
    Read full judgment T-342/07 Ryanair v Commission >
    Read full judgment T-411/07 Aer Lingus v Commission >
    Read more on Commission decision under appeal>
    Frequently asked questions about Commission decision under appeal>
  • Case T-396/08 Sachsen and Sachsen-Anhalt v Commission
    8 July 2010
    The General Court ruled on an appeal by two German Länder against a Commission decision of July 2008, that partially authorised training aid for DHL in Leipzig, but prohibited operating aid for the company. The Court rejected the appeal and upheld the Commission decision.
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about Commission decision under appeal >

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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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