Competition weekly news summary
Friday, December 16, 2011

Conferences and Speeches

  • A fair and open system for payments in the Single Market
    European Payments Council Plenary meeting, Brussels, Joaquín Almunia
    14 December 2011
    "I would like to make one point very clear here; we need to avoid importing the issues that afflict the cards market into the new payment instruments. One example is the perverse effect of the interchange-fee model which currently dominates the payment-card sector. On the one hand, card schemes compete for issuing banks by offering higher interchange fees; acquiring banks then charge these fees to retailers who cannot refuse for fear of losing customers. On the other hand, banks and payment-card schemes create incentives for consumers to use the high-fee cards, and consumers are happy to use them because they cannot see the true costs of payments. This system leads to a form of inverse competition – a competition for higher fees – which is clearly not in the interest of merchants, consumers, and the market as a whole."
    Read full speech >

Antitrust

  • Commission opens proceedings against two manufacturers of refrigerants used in car air conditioning
    16 December 2011
    The Commission has opened proceedings into agreements between Honeywell and DuPont for the development of a new refrigerant for air conditioning systems in cars. It is also investigating whether Honeywell may hold and abuse a dominant position over the refrigerant that has been announced as a suitable replacement for the existing global refrigerant, which no longer meets environmental-protection standards.
    Read more >
  • Commission makes IBM's commitments legally binding to ensure competition in mainframe maintenance market
    14 December 2011
    The Commission has made legally binding commitments offered by International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) in the mainframe maintenance market. IBM commits to make available spare parts and technical information to independant mainframe maintainers on commercially reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. Mainframes are powerful computers used by large companies and public institutions to store and process critical business information. The Commission had concerns that IBM may have imposed unreasonable conditions for supplying its competitors in the market of mainframe maintenance services in breach of EU antitrust rules. The Commission is satisfied that the commitments, revised in light of observations received in the course of a market test, are suitable to solve these concerns.
    Read more >
  • Commission market tests Thomson Reuters' commitments on Reuters Instrument Codes
    14 December 2011
    The Commission invites comments on commitments offered by Thomson Reuters to address concerns that its licensing practices in relation to the Reuters Instrument Codes (RICs) may be in breach of EU antitrust rules. RICs are codes that identify securities, used by financial institutions to retrieve data from Thomson Reuters' real-time datafeeds. The Commission has concerns that Thomson Reuters is abusing its dominant position in the market for consolidated real-time datafeeds by prohibiting customers to use RICs for retrieving data from alternative providers and mapping them for such a purpose to alternative symbols. Thomson Reuters has offered to allow customers to license RICs for the purpose of switching and to use RICs for retrieving data from other providers against a license fee. If the market test confirms that the proposed commitments remedy the competition concerns, the Commission may adopt a decision making the commitment legally binding on Thomson Reuters.
    Read more >

Mergers

  • Commission approves acquisition of Belgian health company Omega Pharma by private equity fund manager Waterland and Belgian Alychlo
    14 December 2011
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of Omega Pharma, a Belgian provider of Over-the-Counter (OTC) health care products, by the Belgian holding company Alychlo and a fund controlled by Waterland Private Equity Investment. The Commission concluded that the merged entity would continue to face effective competition in the markets for OTC pharmaceuticals and other health care products as well as in the respective downstream distribution markets.
    Read more >

Court

  • Case T-437/08 CDC Hydrogen Peroxide v Commission
    15 December 2011
    The General Court ruled on an appeal against a Commission decision that had refused to grant full access to the index of documents collected in its investigation of a cartel in the markets for hydrogene peroxide. The Court annulled the Commission decision.
    Read full judgment >
  • T-244/08 Konsum Nord Ekonomisk Förening v Commission
    13 December 2011
    The General Court ruled on an appeal by Swedish retailer Konsum agaist a Commission decision of 2008 finding that a land sale to Konsum had not been carried out at market conditions and therefore contained unlawful state aid. The Court annulled the Commission decision.
    Read full judgment >
    More info about intial Commission decision >

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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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