Competition weekly news summary
Friday, September 17, 2010

Conferences and Speeches

  • Due process and competition enforcement
    IBA – 14th Annual Competition Conference, Florence, Joaquín Almunia,
    17 September 2010
    "One advantage of our model over the judicial system is that it has helped us take forward the analytical part of our work. When you think how a pure judicial system could work in a Union composed by 27 member states, with different cultures, different systems, this advantage appears quite clearly. Over the years, we have established a system that incorporates the very best economic analysis into competition enforcement."
    Read full speech >

Competition

  • Commission appoints Wouter Wils as Hearing Officer
    13 September 2010
    As of 16 September 2010, Wouter Wils joined Michael Albers, who was appointed as Hearing Officer in 2008. Both Hearing Officers are invested by the Commission with independent decision-making powers, are not members of the Directorate General for Competition and report directly to the Commissioner for Competition, Joaquín Almunia.
    Read more >

Mergers

  • Commission clears APX's proposed purchase of Belpex in energy trading field
    15 September 2010
    The transaction primarily concerns the provision of services for the wholesale trading of electricity. The Commission's investigation found that the operation would not give rise to any significant competition concerns, because of the limited combined market shares of the parties and the limited overlaps between the parties' activities.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves proposed acquisition of Öger Tours by Thomas Cook
    14 September 2010
    The proposed transaction will result in horizontal and vertical overlaps, in the leisure travel sector, in particular in Germany. Given the moderate combined market shares of the parties, the presence of strong competitors and the differentiation of the products, the Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition will not harm consumers in Germany who will continue to have access to package tours at competitive prices.
    Read more >

State aid

  • Commission clears restructuring of Latvian bank Parex
    15 September 2010
    The Commission approved the restructuring of the Latvian Parex Banka. Under the plan submitted by the Latvian authorities the core assets and operations of Parex are transferred into a newly established bank called Citadele, with the remainder of Parex turned into a resolution bank. The Commission is satisfied that the restructuring plan will ensure the long-term viability of Citadele banka, whilst allowing an orderly realisation of the assets remaining in Parex. The plan also includes an adequate contribution of the legacy capital holders to the restructuring costs as well as safeguards to limit the distortive effects of the received aid.
    Read more >
  • Commission authorises Slovak €11 million aid for purchase of digital TV decoders by socially vulnerable persons
    15 September 2010
    The Commission approved a scheme supporting the purchase of digital television terminal equipment for socially vulnerable groups in Slovakia. The Commission found the measure to be in line with EU state aid rules, because the aid has a social character, is technologically neutral and non-discriminatory regarding the geographical origins of decoders.
    Read more >
  • Commission finds against planned regional subsidy to Italian energy company Fri-el Acerra
    15 September 2010
    After an in-depth investigation, the Commission concluded that a €19.5 million investment aid that Italy intended to grant to Fri-el Acerra for the takeover and conversion of a closed thermoelectric power plant into a power plant fuelled by bioliquids is incompatible with EU state aid rules. The project was launched well before the aid was granted, showing that the financial incentive was not necessary to attract the investment. The size of the regional aid itself did not appear commensurate with the benefits for the region.
    Read more >
  • Commission clears regional German investment aid for Wacker Chemie
    15 September 2010
    The Commission authorised a €97.5 million investment aid that the German authorities intend to grant to Wacker Chemie AG for the production of solar grade polysilicon in Nünchritz. The Commission found the measure to be in line with EU state aid rules, because its positive impact on regional development will outweigh any potential distortions of competition brought about by the aid.
    Read more >
  • National measures adopted as a response to the financial/economic crisis
    15 September 2010
    Overview of measures >
  • Commission approves aid to compensate damages caused by the floods in Saxony, Germany
    10 September 2010
    The Commission approved an aid scheme that allows to compensate companies for the damage caused by the floods of August 2010 in Saxony, Germany. The Commission found that the measure was in line with EU state aid rules that allow aid to make good for the damage caused by natural disasters.
    Read more >

Court

  • C-550/07 Akzo Nobel Chemicals et Akcros Chemicals / Commission e.a
    14 September 2010
    The Court of Justice ruled on appeals against a General Court judgment of 17 September 2007 (T-125/03 and T-253/03), that had rejected the applicants' requests regarding, inter alia, the confidentiality of documents in EU competition investigations. The CoJ dismissed the appeals and confirmed that internal company communications with in-house lawyers are not covered by legal professional privilege.
    Read full judgment C-550/07 >
    Read full judgment T-125/03 >
    Read full judgment T-253/03 >
  • T-193/06 TF1 1 / Commission
    13 September 2010
    The General Court ruled on an appeal against a Commission decision of 22 March 2006, auhorising national audiovisual production support schemes in France. The Court dismissed the appeal in its entirety and upheld the Commission decision. The Court found, in particular, that TF1 is not individually concerned by the Commission's decision and has therefore no right to challenge the decision.
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about the Commission decision >
  • Joined cases T-415/05, T-416/05 and T-423/05 Hellenic Republic and others / Commission
    13 September 2010
    The General Court ruled on appeals against a Commission decision of 14 September 2005, finding that Greece had granted illegal state aid to Olympic Airways and Olympic Airlines. While the Court largely upheld the Commission's decision, it reduced the amount of illegal and incompatible aid granted to the applicants from around €530 million to around €400 million.
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about the Commission decision >
  • T-279/04 and T-452/04 Editions Jacob / Commission
    13 September 2010
    The General Court ruled on an appeal of Editions Jacob against a Commission decision of 7 January 2004, authorising Lagardère to acquire part of the publishing business of Editis, subject to a divestment. The Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the Commission's decision to authorise the merger. In a related ruling, the Court annulled the Commission's decision to approve the French group Wendel as a purchaser of the assets that Lagardère had to divest.
    Read full judgment on appeal against merger decision >
    Read full judgment on appeal against buyer approval >
    Read more on Commission's 2004 decision >
  • T-26/06 and T-40/06 Trioplast / Commission
    13 September 2010
    The General Court ruled on appeals by Trioplast against a Commission decision of 30 November 2005, fining the applicants and others for operating a cartel in the industrial bags sector. The Court upheld the Commission's decision, except for reducing the amount of the fine for which Trioplast's mother company was held jointly and severally liable. The Court rejected the remainder of the appeal and confirmed the total amount of fines.
    Read full judgment on Trioplast's appeal >
    Read full judgment on the appeal of Trioplast's mother company >
    Read more on Commission's 2005 decision >

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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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