Competition weekly news summary
Friday, April 29, 2011

Conferences and Speeches

  • Staying ahead of the curve in EU competition policy
    GCLC's Fifth Evening Policy Talk, Brussels, Joaquín Almunia
    19 April 2011
    "... every year, we are asked to review on average well over one thousand new [state aid] cases. [...] A considerable proportion of them relate to aid amounts which are very small but the workload they generate is disproportionate to their effect on the internal market. [...] This is why I want to take a more systemic approach to deal with State aid cases, I want to simplify and clarify our rules, and I want to concentrate available resources on the aid that most hinders the functioning of the Single Market."
    Read full speech >

Antitrust

  • Commission probes Credit Default Swaps market
    29 April 2011
    The Commission has opened two antitrust investigations concerning the Credit Default Swaps market. CDS are financial instruments meant to protect investors in the event a company or State they have invested in default on their payments. They are also used as speculative tools. In the first case, the Commission will examine whether 16 investment banks and Markit, the leading provider of financial information in the CDS market, have colluded or may hold and abuse a dominant position in order to control financial information on CDS. In the second case, the Commission opened proceedings against 9 of the banks and ICE Clear Europe, the leading clearing house for CDS. Here, the Commission will investigate in particular whether the preferential tariffs granted by ICE to the 9 banks have the effect of locking them in the ICE system to the detriment of competitors.
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  • Commission opens investigation against pharmaceutical companies Cephalon and Teva
    28 April 2011
    The Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether an agreement between US-based pharmaceutical company Cephalon and Israel-based generic drugs firm Teva may hinder the entry of generic Modafinil in the European Economic Area. Modafinil is a medicine used for the treatment of certain types of sleeping disorders.
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Mergers

  • Commission clears acquisition of Total's photocures and coating businesses by Arkema
    29 April 2011
    The proposed transaction mainly gives rise to a vertical link between the parties. Arkema produces glacial acrylic acid (GAA) and acrylate esters which are used as an input for the resins of the photocures and coating businesses of Total. However, the Commission found that after the transaction Arkema would not have the ability to restrict competitors' access to the GAA and acrylate esters that it produces, given its limited market shares and the presence of other strong players. It will also lack the incentive to do so, because Arkema predominantly relies on other customers to place its sales of GAA and acrylate esters in the EEA.
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  • Consultation on best practices for cooperation among EU national competition authorities
    28 April 2011
    The Commission has made public a set of draft best practices aimed at fostering cooperation between national competition authorities in the EU, for mergers that are not subject to EU review but require clearance in several Member States. Comments on the proposals, drawn up by a Commission-NCA working group, can be submitted until 27 May 2011.
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  • Commission clears acquisition of Swedish company Dometic by UK investment fund EQT V
    19 April 2011
    EQT V was set up in 2006 as part of the EQT group of private equity funds. It does not have a controlling interest in any company which is active in the same markets as Dometic.
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  • Commission clears acquisition of certain assets of UK financial firm Egg by Barclays Bank
    18 April 2011
    The Commission’s examination of the proposed transaction showed that the activities of Barclays and the target overlap only in relation to the issuing of universal, personal credit cards in the UK and the combined market shares remain moderate. In addition, a significant number of credible competitors, capable of imposing a competitive constraint on the merged entity, remain in the markets concerned.
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State aid

  • Commission approves aid for Danish public service broadcaster TV2
    20 April 2011
    The Commission approved the funding mechanism that was in place for the Danish broadcaster TV2 between 1995 and 2002. In particular, the Commission concluded that the compensation granted under this mechanism was proportionate to the costs of TV2's public service mission and so did not give rise to any disproportionate distortion of competition. Subject to conditions ensuring that TV2 becomes viable without continued state support, the Commission has also authorised restructuring aid for TV2.
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  • Commission approves French risk capital scheme to support innovative new businesses
    20 April 2011
    Then Commission found that a French venture capital fund aimed at encouraging the raising of risk capital for innovative SMEs in their early-growth stages was in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the Commission concluded that the positive effects of the scheme on the development of innovative SMEs were greater than any distortions of competition that might arise as a result of the aid.
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  • Commission found investment by French fund FMEA in Trèves group free of state aid
    20 April 2011
    The Commission found that a May 2009 investment by the Fonds de modernisation des équipementiers automobiles (FMEA) in the French Trèves group did not constitute state aid because the FMEA had acted like a prudent investor operating in a market economy.
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  • Commission launches public consultation on the revision of the Broadband Guidelines
    19 April 2011
    The Commission invited stakeholders' views on the forthcoming revision of EU rules on the public financing of broadband infrastructure. The current guidelines provide a comprehensive framework for furthering the deployment of high and very-high speed broadband in Europe. However, fast evolving markets and rapid technological progress may require adaptations. This is why the Commission has set up a questionnaire on relevant issues, such as the development of very high speed broadband technologies or how best to design the access conditions on subsidized next generation networks. Comments should be submitted by 31 August 2011. In light of the results, the Commission will decide whether a revision of the guidelines is indicated and, in the affirmative, put forward a proposal for discussion in early 2012.
    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.

© European Union, 2011. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

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