Competition weekly news summary
Friday, September 3, 2010

Antitrust

  • Commission opens formal probe into marine insurance agreements
    26 August
    The Commission opened formal proceedings to investigate whether certain provisions accompanying claim-sharing and joint-reinsurance agreements in the marine insurance sector might infringe EU antitrust rules. The Commission fears that the provisions at stake in agreements between the Protection & Indemnity Clubs (P&I Clubs) may harm ship owners and insurers that are not members of the International Group of P&I Clubs.
    Read more >
  • Commission confirms unannounced inspections in polyurethane foam sector
    3 August 2010
    The Commission can confirm that, starting on 27 July 2010, Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of companies active in the polyurethane foam sector in several Member States. The Commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated European antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices.
    Read more >

Mergers

  • Commission clears civil and naval ship deal between Abu Dhabi Mar and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems
    31 August 2010
    The proposed transaction would create no significant overlaps. In the markets for building naval ships, ADM is not active in Germany, Sweden and Greece, where TKMS traditionally has had strong positions. The Commission's market investigation also confirmed that, on the vertically affected markets for ship components, there is no risk of markets being closed off.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves acquisition of Chloride by Emerson
    24 August 2010
    The merged entity would continue to face strong competition from a number of credible competitors in all national markets affected by the concentration.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves acquisition of Alico and DelAm by MetLife
    24 August 2010
    The Commissionís investigation showed that the overlaps between the parties' activities are essentially limited to life insurance products in a few Member States. Moreover, the combined market shares are relatively small and the combined firm will continue to face several strong, effective competitors with significant market shares.
    Read more >
  • Commission clears the acquisition of Puleva Dairy by Lactalis
    23 August 2010
    The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not give rise to competition concerns because Lactalis would continue to account for a limited share of the demand.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves proposed acquisition of Weyl by Vion
    20 August 2010
    The Commission's investigation revealed that the proposed transaction would not close off the market to competition as a sufficient number of competitors would remain in all markets concerned.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves part of merger between Veolia and Transdev, refers examination of impact in France and The Netherlands to national competition authorities
    12 August 2010
    Following a preliminary examination, the Commission found that the transaction would lead to substantial overlaps in the partiesí activities, particularly on the public passenger transport markets, in France and The Netherlands. These aspects will therefore be examined by the French and Dutch competition authorities on the basis of their national competition law. At the same time, the Commission has approved the proposed merger of Veolia Transportís and Transdevís activities in territories outside France and The Netherlands.
    Read more >
  • Commission clears proposed acquisition of Arriva by Deutsche Bahn, subject to conditions
    11 August 2010
    The Commission's investigation focused on the rail and bus passenger transport markets and the rail freight markets in several Member States. The Commission found competition concerns on the German rail and bus markets, where Deutsche Bahn still enjoys very high market shares and Arriva Deutschland has become one of the major competitive forces. To address the Commission's concerns, Deutsche Bahn offered to divest Arriva Deutschland which comprises the entire Arriva rail and bus business in Germany. These commitments fully remove the overlap in a clear manner and received a positive feed back in the market test.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves the acquisition of joint control of Arnotts by Anglo Irish Bank and RBS
    9 August 2010
    Anglo Irish Bank and RBS intend to restructure Arnotts' existing debt in return for the acquisition of joint control over Arnotts. The parties' activities do not overlap and the Commission therefore concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concern.
    Read more >
  • Commission clears planned acquisition of Alcon by Novartis, subject to conditions
    9 August 2010
    The Commission's investigation examined a large number of ophthalmological pharmaceutical markets and consumer vision care markets across the EEA. The Commission found that competition concerns arose in a number of such markets because of the high combined market shares for certain products, the fact that Novartis' and Alcon's products are close competitors and because of the presence of barriers to entry. To address the Commission's concerns, Novartis offered to divest a number of businesses across the EEA in the product areas concerned.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves acquisition of Hypo Group Alpe Adria by the Republic of Austria
    4 August 2010
    In agreement with the Austrian government, the transaction was notified to the Commission, as the Ministry of Finance had previously acquired another bank, namely Kommunalkredit Austria AG ("KA"). The Ministry of Finance therefore controls both HGAA and KA, which together reach the turnover thresholds requiring a notification under the Merger Regulation. The Commission has assessed the horizontal overlaps between HGAA and KA on the market for public sector financing and real estate leasing and concluded that the transaction would not raise any competition concerns because the two banks have combined market shares of less than 15% under any of the possible market definitions.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves proposed acquisition of Sperian by Honeywell
    4 August 2010
    As Honeywell's and Sperian's activities are mainly focused in different geographic areas and product segments, the overlaps between the partiesí activities as regards personal protective equipment devices are limited. Furthermore, the Commission's investigation revealed that the merged entity would continue to face a number of significant competitors, while customers would continue to be able to source from a number of alternative suppliers.
    Read more >
  • Commission clears planned acquisition of Ratiopharm by Teva, subject to conditions
    3 August 2010
    The Commission approved the proposed acquisition of the German generic pharmaceutical company Ratiopharm by Teva of Israel. The decision is conditional upon the divestment of fifteen products in the Netherlands and one in Hungary. The Commission had concerns that the parties' high combined market shares for these products, together with their overall post-merger strength in The Netherlands, could have harmed competition on these markets. In the light of the commitments, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns anymore.
    Read more >
  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed merger between Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines
    30 July 2010
    The Commission opened an in-depth investigation into the planned merger between Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines, both Greek airlines active in passenger air transport. The Commissionís initial market investigation indicated that the proposed merger could raise serious competition concerns, in particular because the merged entity would have very high, if not monopolistic, market shares on all domestic routes and on a number of international routes where both parties operate.
    Read more >

State aid

  • Commission authorises recapitalisation scheme implementing the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund for credit institutions
    3 September 2010
    The Commission has authorised a scheme for the recapitalisation of credit institutions in Greece by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (FSF). The Fund's capital is €10 billion and is part of the euro-area/IMF financial assistance to the country.
    Read more >
  • Commission extends the Slovenian bank liquidity support scheme
    24 August 2010
    The Commission authorised the extension of the liquidity support scheme for banks in Slovenia until 31 December 2010. The extended scheme features higher premiums to be paid by the banks for the loans granted by the State. This is to encourage banks to finance themselves without state support and to limit distortions of competition.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves Dutch recapitalisation of AEGON
    17 August 2010
    The Commission approved the recapitalisation of the Dutch insurance company AEGON. The final restructuring plan satisfactorily demonstrates how AEGON will secure its long-term viability, ensures sufficient burden-sharing between the State and AEGON and will offset the limited market-distorting effects of the aid measures.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves broadband scheme in Catalonia, Xarxa Oberta
    12 August 2010
    The Commission approved the rollout of a public open broadband network (Xarxa Oberta) in the Spanish region of Catalonia. The network will serve the connectivity needs of the regional administrative centres in the region and will be open at wholesale level to electronic communications operators seeking access to it. The Commission found the scheme to be in line with EU state aid rules, because it will contribute significantly to achieving the objectives of the Digital Agenda and enhance the possibilities for infrastructure based competition in Catalonia without unduly distorting competition.
    Read more on the Commission's decision >
    Read more on the Commission's broadband guidelines >
    Communication on the EU's Digital Agenda >
  • Commission temporarily clears support for Anglo Irish Bank
    10 August 2010
    The Commission authorised an emergency recapitalisation of up to Ä 10.054 billion in favour of Anglo Irish Bank. The Commission temporarily approved the measure, until it will have reached a final decision on Anglo Irish Bank's restructuring plan.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves aid to compensate damages caused in Poland by floods
    9 August 2010
    The Commission approved an aid scheme that allows to grant compensation for the damage caused by the floods of May and June 2010 in Poland. The Commission found that the measure was in line with the EU state aid rules, because the aid is available only to cover the material damages effectively caused.
    Read more >
  • Commission authorises support package for Lithuanian financial institutions
    5 August 2010
    The Commission approved a Lithuanian package intended to stabilise the markets as a response to the global financial crisis. The package will provide eligible credit institutions with new capital, guarantees on newly issued short and medium term debt, and relieve them of troubled assets under strict conditions. The Commission found the measures to be in line with EU state aid rules, because they ensure non discriminatory access, are limited in time and scope, provide for a market-oriented remuneration and foresee adequate safeguards to minimise potential distortions of competition.
    Read more >
  • Commission closes formal investigation on state aid to Polish company PZL Hydral
    4 August 2010
    The Commission closed its formal investigation procedure on state aid to PZL Hydral, a company which was specialised in civil and military aviation hydraulics. The Commission had concerns that the original restructuring plan would have infringed EU state aid rules. After modifications to the restructuring plan as a result of the sale of the remaining business activity (PZL Wroclaw) to a private investor, who will provide an additional investment, the Commission concluded that the restructuring does not involve any state aid, because the financing is granted on market terms.
    Read more >

    Court

    • Case C-399/08 P
      2 september 2010
      The ECJ upheld the General Court decision of July 2008 which annulled the Commission decision asking Deutsche Post the repayment of illegal state aid received.
      Read full judgment >

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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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