Competition weekly news summary
Friday, February 25, 2011

Mergers

  • Commission approves proposed acquisition of the décor and abrasive paper business of Arjowiggins by Swedish paper manufacturer Munksjö
    21 February 2011
    The proposed acquisition will create one of the largest companies worldwide in the market for decor paper. The new entity will continue to face effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) including from Technocell of Germany, Malta Decor of Poland and a number of smaller players.
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  • Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Actamax by DSM and DuPont
    21 February 2011
    The Commission's examination of the proposed transaction showed that neither DSM nor DuPont have activities in the same market as Actamax or in a market which is up- or downstream from that of the joint venture or in neighbouring markets closely related to this market. Furthermore Actamax' activities will only represent a small part of DSM's and DuPont's portfolios, so that coordination between the parents of the JV that would restrict competition within the meaning of Article 101(1) of the TFEU is highly unlikely.
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State aid

  • Commission approves France's scheme to support supplementary social welfare cover for local government staff
    23 February 2011
    The Commission has ruled that the scheme to support supplementary welfare cover for local government staff put forward by France is compatible with EU Treaty rules on state aid in view of its social character.
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  • Greek mining company Ellinikos Xrysos needs to repay around €15 million in illegal subsidies
    23 February 2011
    After an in-depth investigation, the Commission has concluded that the sale of the Cassandra Mines, in 2003, to Ellinikos Xrysos was carried out below its real market value and, therefore, involved subsidies in breach of EU state aid rules. The subsidy was calculated at €14 million. As the company also did not pay transaction taxes, the total amount to be recovered from the beneficiary to the State's coffers is €15.3 million, plus interest.
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  • Commission requires Italy to recover around €18 million incompatible state aid from metal producers Portovesme, ILA and Eurallumina
    23 February 2011
    The European Commission has found that operating aid granted by Italy to Portovesme, ILA and Eurallumina in the form of subsidized electricity prices is incompatible with EU state aid rules and needs to be recovered. After an in-depth investigation, the Commission concluded that the preferential tariffs offered to these companies merely reduced the operating costs of the beneficiaries and improved their competitive position without furthering any goal of common interest.
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  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into restructuring aid for Czech Airlines
    23 February 2011
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation, to verify whether the measures notified in the context of the restructuring of the Czech national flag carrier Czech Airlines are in line with the EU rescue and restructuring aid guidelines. The measures comprise a loan of CZK 2.5 billion (around 94 million euro) granted by the State-owned undertaking Osinek under allegedly preferential conditions (see ongoing case C6/2010), its later de-collateralisation and transformation into equity capital and a potential guarantee for the purchase of an airplane.
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  • Commission opens in-depth investigations into support for short‑term export-credit companies Ducroire and SACE BT
    23 February 2011
    The European Commission has opened in-depth investigations to examine whether capital injections granted to Ducroire of Belgium, on the one hand, and SACE BT of Italy, on the other hand, by their respective State-owned parent entities, were in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission will assess, in particular, whether the parents, Belgium's ONDD and SACE, acted as normal market economy investors and provided the capital on market terms. Ducroire and SACE BT provide short-term export-credit insurance. The opening of an in-depth investigation allows interested third parties to comment on the measures under assessment. It does not prejudge the outcome of the procedure.
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  • Commission approves a repayable advance of €12 million to Volvo Aero Corporation for the development of a novel aero engine component
    23 February 2011
    The European Commission has authorised under EU State aid rules a repayable advance of 120 million Swedish crowns (approx. €12 million) that Sweden intends to grant to Volvo Aero Corporation for the development of the Intermediate Compressor Case (ICC) for the Trent XWB engine. The engine is being developed by Rolls-Royce and will equip the new Airbus A350 XWB aircraft family. The Commission found that the aid complies with the requirements of the EU framework for state aid for Research, Development and Innovation, because the positive effects of the aid outweigh potential distortions of competition brought about by the aid.
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  • Recovery of illegal State aid gets faster as Commission tightens procedures
    18 February 2011
    In 2010, Member States recovered a total of €530 million in State aid granted to businesses before they were notified to the Commission and later found to be incompatible with EU State aid rules. This brings the total amount of aid recovered to €10.9 billion in the last 10 years. The pace of recovery is also increasing with 57% of the illegal aid either recovered or taken to the European court in less than two years.
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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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