Competition weekly news summary
Friday, October 1, 2010

Conferences and Speeches

  • The past and the future of merger control in the EU
    Global Competition Review's conference, Brussels, Joaquín Almunia
    28 September 2010
    "In a nutshell, merger control means that companies cannot simply avoid competition by buying their competitors. When our analysis concludes that there is no competition problem, I am the first to recognise that mergers and acquisitions are an important part of a healthy economy and I will make sure that competition enforcement does not stand in the way of the emergence of European companies capable of competing on the world stage."
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Antitrust

  • ENI case: Commission opens up access to Italy's natural gas market
    29 September 2010
    The Commission has made legally-binding the commitments offered by the Italian energy company ENI to settle antitrust proceedings.
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  • Statement on Apple's iPhone policy changes
    25 September 2010
    In light of the Commission's preliminary antitrust investigation into Apple's iPhone policies, Commissioner Almunia welcomed Apple's announcement that it has relaxed restrictions on the development tools for iPhone applications (apps) and introduced cross-border warranty repair services within the EU/EEA.
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Mergers

  • Commission clears proposed acquisition of French retailer Picard by Lion Capital
    1 October 2010
    The proposed transaction does not result in any horizontal overlaps. However, a vertical link does exist as Findus, controlled by Lion Capital, is a potential supplier to Picard. As their respective market shares are modest, the Commission found no indications that Findus and Picard would have the ability or incentive to shut out competitors. Moreover, there remain sufficient alternative suppliers of frozen food.
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  • Commission approves proposed acquisition of Spanish subsidiary of car components maker Plastal AB by Peugeot's Faurecia
    30 September 2010
    The parties' activities overlap for the manufacture and supply of bumpers, front end carriers and instrument panels for light vehicles. However, the Commission's investigation found that the proposed merger would not give rise to competition concerns as the parties are not each other's closest competitors and will continue to face several credible competitors.
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  • Commission approves joint acquisition of Belgian hygiene disposables company Ontex by investment funds Goldman Sachs and TPG
    30 September 2010
    The Commission concluded that for all products concerned the combined entity will continue to face strong competition and that competition concerns could be exlcuded.
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  • Commission approves acquisition of Dell's computer production facility in Poland by Foxconn
    28 September 2010
    The Commission’s investigation showed that the overlaps between Foxconn and Dell's Polish subsidiary in the assembly of electronic products are not so important as to significantly strengthen Foxconn's competitive position. Furthermore, the Commission found that after the operation Foxconn would continue to face several effective competitors.
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  • Commission clears proposed acquisition of US consultancy firm Hewitt by rival Aon
    28 September 2010
    The Commission found that competition concerns could be excluded, since the market shares of the combined firm would be modest post-transaction, and a sufficient number of credible competitors would remain active.
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  • Commission refers planned online joint venture between ProSiebenSat.1 and RTL to German and Austrian competition authorities
    24 September 2010
    The Commission has referred the assessment of the joint venture between the German private broadcasters ProSiebenSat.1 and RTL to the competition authorities of Austria and Germany, at their request. After a preliminary investigation, the Commission found that the proposed transaction would affect competition in national online TV and advertising markets in Austria and Germany.
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State aid

  • Statement by Competition Commissioner Almunia on Irish banks
    30 September 2010
    Commissioner Almunia welcomed the comprehensive statement issued by the Irish Finance Minister on banking.
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  • Commission refers Spain to Court for failure to respect Court ruling to recover illegal aid
    30 September 2010
    The Commission referred Spain to the EU Court of Justice for failure to implement a previous Court ruling, which had confirmed a Commission decision finding that aid granted to the Magefesa group was illegal and had to be recovered. Although over eight years have elapsed since the 2002 Court judgement, Spain has yet to complete the recovery procedure as regards Magefesa's Indosa subsidiary and the latter's own subsidiary CMD.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves Danish bank wind-up scheme
    30 September 2010
    The Commission authorised a resolution scheme for the handling of distressed banks in Denmark. The Commission found the scheme to be compatible with EU state aid rules, because it is limited in time and scope, ensures adequate burden-sharing and contains safeguards to avoid undue distortions of competition.
    Read more >
  • Commission clears public service compensation to electricity generators in Spain
    29 September 2010
    The Commission authorised a compensation which Spain intends to grant to electricity generators to meet the costs of fulfilling a public service obligation, namely producing certain volumes of electricity out of indigenous coal. The directive that governs the functioning of the EU electricity market allows Member States to put in place such public service obligations under certain conditions, for reasons of security of energy supply. The measure is in line with EU State aid rules, because it will not result in over-compensating electricity generators for fulfilling the obligations imposed on them.
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  • Commission approves restructuring of German savings bank Sparkasse KölnBonn
    29 September 2010
    The Commission approved a €650 million recapitalisation provided by Germany in the context of the restructuring of Sparkasse KölnBonn. The Commission concluded that the bank's restructuring plan is appropriate to restore its viability, while addressing competition distortions brought about by the state support.
    Read more >
  • Commission finds €10 million support for reconstruction of Czech cableway on Mount Sněžka is not state aid
    29 September 2010
    The Commission found that CZK 250 million (€10 million) of public funding for the reconstruction of a cableway on Mount Sněžka, on the border between the Czech Republic and Poland, does not constitute state aid in the sense of EU rules. The Commission concluded that the measure dit not distort competition.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves €21.4 million public funding for Dutch company Mapper to develop new semiconductor manufacturing technology
    29 September 2010
    The Commission authorised The Netherlands to grant €15.6 million of soft loans and a direct grant of €5.7 million to Mapper Lithography B.V, for the development of 'E-beam lithography'. E-beam technology is an innovative research path that could enable the global semiconductor industry to keep increasing the performance of microchips. The Commission found the aid to be compatible with EU sate aid rules, because Mapper would not have been able to carry out this risky R&D-project without the aid.
    Read more >
  • Commission opens two investigations on Spanish National Transition Plan for digitization and extension of terrestrial television network
    29 September 2010
    The Commission opened in-depth investigations to examine whether two schemes to finance the digitization and extension of the terrestrial television network in Spain are in line with EU state aid rules.
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  • Commission closes investigation into Temporary Framework state guarantee for Romanian chemical producer Oltchim
    29 September 2010
    The Commission closed an investigation into a Romanian State guarantee to chemical firm Oltchim after the government informed that the guarantee had not been granted.
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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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