Competition weekly news summary
Friday, April 13, 2012

Antitrust

  • Commission fines nine producers of window mountings ?86 million for price fixing cartel
    28 March 2012
    The Commission has fined nine European producers of mountings for windows a total of ? 85 876 000 for operating a cartel by which they agreed on common price increases, in breach of EU antitrust rules. The collusion lasted from November 1999 to July 2007 and affected European buyers of windows across all Member States of the EU and EEA. The companies are Roto, Gretsch-Unitas, Siegenia, Winkhaus, Hautau, Fuhr, Strenger (all of Germany), Maco of Austria and AGB of Italy. Roto received full immunity from fines under the Commission's 2006 Leniency Notice, as it was the first to provide information about the cartel. The fine for Gretsch-Unitas was reduced by 45% and the fine for Maco by 25% in view of their cooperation in the investigation.
    Read more >
  • Commission imposes ? 169 million fine on freight forwarders for operating four price fixing cartels
    28 March 2012
    The Commission has fined 14 international groups of companies a total of ? 169 million for participating in the period 2002-2007 in four distinct cartels aimed at fixing prices and other trading conditions for international air freight forwarding services, in breach of EU antitrust rules. The freight forwarders colluded on surcharges and charging mechanisms concerning important trade lanes, in particular the Europe-USA and the China/Hong Kong-Europe lanes. Participants and duration varied in each of the four cartels. Deutsche Post (including its subsidiaries DHL and Exel) received full immunity from fines under the Commission's 2006 leniency notice for all four cartels, as it was the first to reveal their existence the Commission.
    Read more >
  • Commission fines Czech energy companies Energetický a prumyslový holding and EP Investment Advisors ? 2.5 million for obstruction during inspection
    28 March 2012
    The Commission has imposed a total of ?2 500 000 in fines on Energetický a prumyslový holding and EP Investment Advisors, active in the energy sector in the Czech Republic, for obstructing an inspection carried out by Commission officials from 24 to 26 November 2009 at their premises in Prague as part of an antitrust investigation. The companies failed to block an email account and diverted incoming emails, in breach of their obligations to cooperate with Commission officials during such inspections and to disclose all documents relevant to the investigation.
    Read more >

Mergers

  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of control over Goodrich by United Technology in aviation equipment sector
    27 March 2012
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into the proposed acquisition of control over Goodrich Corporation by United Technology Corporation (UTC), both US-based companies active in the production and sale of aviation equipment on a worldwide basis. The Commission?s preliminary investigation indicated potential competition concerns regarding the markets for engine controls and AC power generators, where the parties would have very high combined market shares. The Commission also has vertical concerns concerning the removal of Goodrich as an independent supplier of fuel nozzles and engine controls, as well as in the area of aftermarket services.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves acquisition of British Midlands (bmi) by IAG subject to conditions
    30 March 2012
    Then Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of the UK airline British Midlands Limited (bmi), by the International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), the holding company of British Airways and Iberia. The decision is conditional upon the release of 14 daily slot pairs at London Heathrow in order to facilitate new entry, and upon IAG's commitment to carry connecting passengers to feed the long-haul flights of competing airlines out of London Heathrow.
    Read more >

State aid

  • Commission approves amendment to Commerzbank restructuring plan
    30 March 2012
    The Commission has approved a modification to Germany's and Commerzbank's commitment to divest its largest subsidiary Eurohypo by the end of 2014. The commitment had been given in the context of Commerzbank's restructuring plan, approved by the Commission on 7 May 2009. When it appeared that Eurohypo could not be divested because of its large funding needs and significant sovereign exposure, the German authorities proposed instead to run-off most of Eurohypo's activities on Commerzbank's own balance sheet and to prolong the acquisition ban until March 2014. The Commission found the proposed alternative in line with EU state aid rules, in particular because it will limit undue distortions of competition.
    Read more >
  • Commission endorses public service compensation for UK Post Office Ltd
    28 March 2012
    The Commission has authorised UK plans to grant a £1155 million (around ?1383 million) network subsidy to the UK Post Office Ltd aiming to keep open and modernise non-commercially viable offices. The Commission found the measure to be in line with EU state aid rules, in particular because the aid does not exceed the net cost for providing the public service mission entrusted to the Post Office Ltd. The Commission also endorsed the continuation, under stricter conditions, of a working capital facility of up to £1150 million (around ?1377 million) which will provide the Post Office Ltd with sufficient liquidity to carry out its public service obligations. The Commission concluded that this liquidity facility is provided on market terms and therefore does not constitute state aid within the meaning of EU rules.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves restructuring of Banco Portugues de Negócios (BPN)
    27 March 2012
    The Commission has authorised the restructuring of Banco Portugues de Negócios (BPN). BPN was nationalised in November 2008 and benefitted from several state aid measures. The restructuring plan includes the sale of BPN to Banco BIC Portugal. Following revisions made to the initial plan and the commitments submitted by Portugal, the Commission concluded that the restructuring and sale of BPN will create a viable entity while ensuring an adequate own contribution of the bank to the costs of restructuring and limiting the distortions of competition created by the aid.
    Read more >
  • Overview of decisions and on-going in-depth investigations in the context of the financial crisis
    27 March 2012
    Go to overview >

Court

  • Commission welcomes General Court judgments in Telefónica case
    29 March 2012
    The General Court dismissed actions brought by Telefónica and Spain against a Commission decision of July 2007 fining Telefónica ?151 million for a margin squeeze in the Spanish broadband market. The judgments are important, because they confirm the Commission's methodology for determining the existence of a margin squeeze and the Commission's power to intervene ex post against abuses committed on regulated markets.
    Read full judgment on Telefonica's appeal >
    Read full judgment on Spain's appeal >
    Read more about initial Commission decision >
    FAQ on initial Commission decision >
  • Case C-243/10 Commission / Italy
    29 March 2012
    The Court of Justice ruled that by failing to recover incompatible state aid from the beneficiaries, Italy had failed to fulfill its obligations under a Commission decision of July 2008. That decision had found some of the aid measures granted to certain investment projects in the hotel industry in Sardinia to be incompatible with EU state aid rules.
    Read full judgment >
  • Case T-123/09 Ryanair / Commission
    28 March 2012
    The General Court ruled on an appeal by Ryanair against two Commission decisions of November 2008 related to certain state measures granted by Italy to Allitalia. The General Court entirely dismissed the appeals and upheld the Commission decisions.
    Read full judgment >
    Read more on initial Commission decisions >

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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, 2012. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

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