Competition weekly news summary
Friday, December 3, 2010

Conferences and Speeches

  • Converging paths in unilateral conduct
    ICN Unilateral Conduct Workshop, Brussels, Joaquín Almunia
    3 December 2010
    We will always need a diversity of approaches to reflect our specific institutional features and traditions; but we also need to be able to work with each other on cases that straddle many jurisdictions. Reducing – and eventually eliminating – conflicting rules in the different jurisdictions can bring only benefits to business and to competition authorities. And of course, we will eventually benefit consumers."
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  • Commission prolongs crisis framework with stricter conditions – trend towards less and better targeted aid continues despite crisis-related spike
    Press conference, Brussels, Joaquín Almunia
    1 December 2010
    "Our key message is that banks have to prepare for a return to normal market mechanisms without State support. The new rules also represent an incentive for aided institutions to accelerate the necessary restructuring."
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  • State of Play and Priorities
    European Parliament, ECON Committee, Brussels, Joaquín Almunia
    30 November 2010
    "But the crisis has not changed my message: the best way for a company to avoid the fines is to stay clear from illegal practices. I will continue to follow this line in 2011."
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Antitrust

  • Commission confirms unannounced inspections in pharmaceutical sector
    3 December 2010
    On 30 November 2010, Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of a limited number of companies active in the pharmaceutical sector in several Member States. The Commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have delayed generic entry for a particular medicine.
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  • Commission probes allegations of antitrust violations by Google
    30 November 2010
    The Commission opened an antitrust investigation into allegations that Google has abused a dominant position in online search.
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Mergers

  • Commission approves proposed acquisition of Wittur by Triton
    2 December 2010
    The Commission's investigation showed that the merged entity would not be in a position to affect competition in the market for car doors because Wittur's competitors will still be able to source electric motors for car door applications from alternative suppliers after the merger.
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  • Commission clears proposed acquisition of DSM Special Products by equity investor Sun Capital
    2 December 2010
    The Commission’s examination of the proposed transaction showed that the horizontal overlaps between the parties' activities are not significant and are unlikely to lead to competition concerns. Regarding the vertical links, the Commission concluded that the merged entity will have no or limited ability and incentives to close off the markets involved, since alternatives and credible suppliers will remain in the markets after the transaction.
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  • Commission approves acquisition of chemical company Cognis by BASF, subject to conditions
    30 November 2010
    The Commission cleared the proposed acquisition of Cognis by BASF, both chemical companies of Germany. The decision is conditional upon the divestment of activities in the sector of hydroxy monomers, a chemical product used in coatings and adhesives.
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  • Commission clears acquisition of Dutch car parts supplier Body Systems by US investment company Renco Group
    30 November 2010
    The Commission concluded that the acquisition does not raise competition concerns, because the parties were not perceived as each other's closest competitors and will continue to be challenged by a number of credible competitors.
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  • Commission clears Schweizerische Post's stake in German direct mail service provider Meiller direct
    30 November 2010
    The Commission's examination of the proposed transaction showed that the joint venture will have low market shares and that it is very unlikely that the parents would coordinate their competitive behaviour as a consequence of the creation of the joint venture.
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  • Commission approves the extension of the activities of ASK, an existing joint-venture between Ashland and Süd-Chemie
    30 November 2010
    The Commission’s examination of the proposed transaction showed that Ashland and Süd-Chemie’s foundry consumable activities are for a large part complementary. Horizontal overlaps between ASK and its parents are relatively limited.
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  • Commission approves acquisition of Impress by Ardagh
    30 November 2010
    The Commission’s examination of the proposed transaction showed that there are no horizontal overlaps between the activities of Ardagh and Impress. The Commission also investigated the effects of Ardagh's enlarged product range and concluded that anticompetitive conglomerate effects would be unlikely, because of the presence of alternative and competing sources of supply for both glass packaging and metal cans.
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  • Commission approves proposed acquisition of certain businesses of German car industry supplier Karmann by Volkswagen
    30 November 2010
    As Karmann acts as a supplier to the car industry, the transaction mainly leads to vertical links. Given the presence of other considerable suppliers and the moderate market share of Karmann, the Commission concluded that car manufacturers will continue to have sufficient alternative suppliers after the transaction.
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State aid

  • Scoreboard shows continued trend towards less and better targeted aid despite crisis-related spike
    1 December 2010
    The volume of national support to the financial sector approved by the Commission between October 2008 and October 2010 amounted to around € 4.5 trillion, although the amount actually taken up by banks is much lower.
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  • Commission prolongs crisis framework with stricter conditions
    1 December 2010
    The Commission prolonged its crisis framework until 2011, with stricter conditions, allowing for a gradual phasing out. Some adaptations had already taken place in July 2010.
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  • Commission accepts commitments from Greece regarding incompatible aid in favour of Hellenic Shipyards
    1 December 2010
    The Commission has accepted commitments proposed by Greece to comply with a Commission decision of 2008 that had ordered it to stop various guarantees and to recover illegal subsidies granted to the civilian activities of Hellenic Shipyards (HSY). Nowadays HSY produces mostly military ships and Greece was concerned that the recovery might endanger those activities which it considers essential for its national interests. Greece therefore proposed to stop the guarantees, to recover part of the aid through the sale of HSY's non-naval assets and to compensate the absence of full recovery with a 15-year ban on HSY's civilian activities.
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  • Commission rejects ING's request to repay hybrid capital to private investors
    30 November 2010
    The Commission rejected ING's request for an early repayment of around €1.2 billion in hybrid capital to private investors as ING has yet to fully reimburse the Dutch State for the support it received.
    Read more >

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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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