Competition weekly news summary
Friday, November 11, 2011

Conferences and Speeches

  • Developments in State aid policy
    State Aid Round Table - BDI, Berlin, Joaquín Almunia
    11 November 2011
    "The Member States and the Commission recently agreed a package of measures to strengthen the capital of banks and provide guarantees on their liabilities that may bring us more State aid cases next year. The crisis rules, which have proved their worth in earlier phases of the crisis, give us the tools we need to deal with those cases. There is no need for fundamental change. But we are working to see how we can clarify and update the rules on pricing and other conditions to facilitate the implementation of the banking package."
    Read full speech >
  • Best Practices for antitrust proceedings and the submission of economic evidence and the enhanced role of the Hearing Officer
    OECD Competition Committee Meeting, Paris, Alexander Italianer
    18 October 2011
    "We are very proud of the end result especially because this package is the product of our discussions with stakeholders over more than a year. We listened to their suggestions and sought to include as many as possible in the final texts. We also tested the draft Best Practices for nearly a year and further fine tuned them over this period. I think that we succeeded in answering most of our stakeholders' concerns. We are confident that the package enhances transparency and procedural guarantees, while maintaining the need for efficient processes."
    Read full speech >

Antitrust

  • Commission confirms unannounced inspections in the sector of bearings for automotive and industrial use
    8 November 2011
    Starting on 8 November 2011, Commission officials undertook unannounced inspections at the premises of companies active in the industry of bearings for automotive and industrial use in several Member States. The Commission has concerns that the companies concerned may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices.
    Read more >

Mergers

  • Commission deepens probe into proposed acquisition of control over sugar trader ED&F MAN by Südzucker
    10 November 2011
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into the proposed acquisition of control over ED&F MAN by Südzucker of Germany, Europe's largest sugar and molasses producer. ED&F MAN is the second largest sugar trader and largest molasses trader worldwide. The Commission’s preliminary investigation has indicated potential competition concerns on the markets for white sugar, imports of raw cane sugar for refining and molasses.
    Read more >
  • EU competition authorities agree best practices to handle cross-border mergers that do not benefit from EU one-stop shop review
    9 November 2011
    The EU's national competition authorities (NCAs) and the Commission have agreed a set of best practices on merger review. The best practices aim to foster cooperation and information sharing for mergers that do not qualify for review by the Commission but require clearance in several Member States.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves acquisition of US water chemical treatment company Nalco by US chemical company Ecolab
    9 November 2011
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of Nalco, a US water chemical treatment company, by Ecolab, another US chemical company. The proposed transaction allows Ecolab to broaden its core competencies by strengthening its presence in water treatment products without raising competition concerns. Indeed, the Commission found that the merged entity will continue to face sufficient competition from several strong players.
    Read more >
  • Commission clears acquisition of Allgäuland by Danish dairy cooperative Arla
    8 November 2011
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of the German dairy producer Allgäuland Käserein, AL Dienstleistungs-GmbH and their subsidiaries by the Danish dairy cooperative Arla Food. The Commission found that the merged entity will continue to be constrained by a number of credible competitors in the markets concerned.
    Read more >
  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Synthes by Johnson and Johnson
    4 November 2011
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into the planned acquisition of Synthes by Johnson and Johnson, both US companies active in the area of orthopaedic medical devices. The Commission’s initial investigation showed that the proposed transaction would combine two of the leading suppliers of spine devices and would strengthen the position of Synthes as market leader in trauma and CMF devices and of Johnson and Johnson in shoulder devices in many EEA Member States. At this stage, the Commission has concerns that the remaining competitors in many of the markets may not be able to exert a sufficiently strong restraint on the behaviour of the merged entity. The removal of an important competitor may also have a negative impact on the level of innovation, leading to a reduction of choice for patients and potentially an increase in prices for the devices concerned.
    Read more >
  • Commission clears Siemens' purchase of Dutch heat recovery steam generator supplier NEM
    28 October 2011
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of NEM, a Dutch-based supplier of heat recovery steam generators, by Siemens of Germany. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not result in competition concerns because both companies' market shares are moderate and a number of strong competitors remain at both levels of the supply chain.
    Read more >

State aid

  • Commission opens in-depth probe into restructuring of Bulgarian railway company BDZ
    9 November 2011
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into a restructuring plan for the Bulgarian state-owned railway company BDZ. The Commission has doubts that the plan is appropriate to restore the company's long-term viability, to ensure the company's own contribution to the restructuring costs and to sufficiently off-set distortions of competition.
    Read more >
  • Commission clears Hungarian sport support scheme
    9 November 2011
    The Commission has approved a Hungarian scheme granting around €60 million of yearly public financing for the renovation and upgrade of existing sports infrastructure. The Commission concluded that the scheme furthers an objective of common interest, while limiting potential distortions of competition between professional sports clubs.
    Read more >
  • Commission clears Latvian support scheme for high speed broadband networks
    9 November 2011
    The Commission has approved a Latvian support scheme worth LVL 71.5 million (€101.71 million) for the deployment of very high speed broadband networks. The Commission found the scheme in line with EU state aid rules, because aid will be granted only for areas where no commercial roll-out is foreseen in the near future and the access to the subsidised infrastructure will be non-discriminatory.
    Read more >
  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into German regional investment aid for Linamar Powertrain
    9 November 2011
    The Commission has opened a formal investigation to assess whether a German project to grant regional investment aid to the Canadian group Linamar for the construction of a new factory in Crimmitschau, Saxony, is in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission will have to assess, in particular, whether and to what extent the aid is needed to incentivise Linamar to carry out the investment in Crimmitschau and whether the benefit of the aid for the region offsets potential distortions of competition.
    Read more >
  • Commission clears Swedish support for wave energy technology project
    9 November 2011
    The Commission has authorised Swedish plans to grant SEK139 million (ca. €15 million) for the development of a wave energy production demonstration plant by Seabased Industry AB. The production of energy from sea waves has been in development for some years, but has still not reached the commercial stage. The Commission found the aid in line with EU state aid rules, because its benefits clearly outweigh potential distortions of competition brought about by the aid.
    Read more >

Court

  • T-384/08 Elliniki Nafpigokataskevastiki e.a. / Commission
    10 November 2011
    The General Court ruled on an appeal against a Commission decision of July 2008, finding, among others, that a state guarantee granted to the German consortium that bought the Hellenic shipyards in 2001-2002 was incompatible with EU state aid rules and had to be stopped. The Court entirely confirmed the Commission's conclusions regarding the public guarantee and rejected the appeal.
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about initial Commission decision >
    FAQ on initial Commission decision >
  • T-88/09 Idromacchine e.a. / Commission
    8 November 2011
    The General Court ruled on an action for damages lodged by Idromacchine against the Commission for publishing the name of the company together with information communicated by Italy in the course of a state aid investigation. The Court partially upheld Idromacchine's claim.
    Read full judgment >

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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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