Competition weekly news summary
25 May 2012

Conferences and Speeches

  • Overcoming the crisis: The role of finance
    Second European Financial Congress, Sopot, Joaquín Almunia
    23 May 2012
    "To overcome the crisis – which spread from the financial sector to the real economy and to some sovereigns – we need to address the root causes of the troubles in the banking sector. To succeed, we ought to do two things; changing the way banks are regulated and restructuring or liquidating the institutions that cannot survive in the medium term without state support. I regard both these tasks as crucial responsibilities for national and European public authorities, because we need a healthy financial system to take the path to growth again."
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  • Statement of VP Almunia on the Google antitrust investigation
    Berlaymont press room, Brussels, Joaquín Almunia
    21 May 2012
    "I believe that these fast-moving markets would particularly benefit from a quick resolution of the competition issues identified. Restoring competition swiftly to the benefit of users at an early stage is always preferable to lengthy proceedings, although these sometimes become indispensable to competition enforcement. In this case, Google Inc. has repeatedly expressed to me its willingness to discuss any concerns that the Commission might have without having to engage in adversarial proceedings. This is why I am today giving Google an opportunity to offer remedies to address the concerns we have already identified."
    Read full statement >

Competition

  • European Competition Network report shows competition enforcement across the EU benefits all parts of the food sector
    24 May 2012
    The European Competition Network (ECN) has published a report showing that active enforcement of competition law in the food sector across Europe, in particular at the processing and manufacturing levels, has benefitted farmers, suppliers and consumers. The report shows that the food sector has been a priority of competition authorities in Europe over the last few years and that their action has intensified since the food price crisis broke out in 2007.
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    Frequently asked questions >

Mergers

  • Commission approves acquisition of SCA Packaging by DS Smith, subject to conditions
    25 May 2012
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of SCA Packaging, a subsidiary of the Swedish group Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget SCA AB, by DS Smith Plc, of the UK. SCA Packaging and DS Smith both produce corrugated packaging used to transport a wide range of industrial and consumer goods. The clearance is conditional upon the divestment of a number of production plants in the UK and France. The Commission's preliminary investigation had shown that the proposed transaction would have endangered competition for some types of packaging in the UK and France. The commitments offered by the parties address these concerns.
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  • Commission approves acquisition of chemical company Solutia by Eastman
    25 May 2012
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of Solutia Inc. by Eastman Chemical Company, both US-based chemical companies. The Commission's investigation concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns because the parties are not active on the same markets and will continue to face sufficient competition.
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  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Inoxum by Outokumpu in stainless steel sector
    22 May 2012
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into the proposed acquisition of Inoxum, the stainless steel division of ThyssenKrupp of Germany by the Finnish stainless steel company Outokumpu. The Commission’s preliminary investigation indicated potential serious competition concerns in various markets for the production and distribution of stainless steel flat products, where the merged entity would have very high market shares.
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  • Commission approves Südzucker's acquisition of control over ED&F MAN subject to conditions
    16 May 2012
    Following an in-depth review, the Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of control by Südzucker of Germany, Europe's largest sugar producer, over ED&F MAN of the UK, the second largest sugar trader worldwide also active in sugar production. The approval is conditional upon the divestiture of ED&F MAN's interests in the Brindisi refinery, the biggest and most modern production facility in Italy.
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  • Commission clears Angolan liquefied natural gas joint venture by BP, Chevron, Eni, Sonangol and Total
    16 May 2012
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of joint control over Angola LNG by BP of the UK, Chevron Global Energy of the US, Eni of Italy, Sociedade Nacional de Combustíveis de Angola (Sonangol) of Angola and Total of France. Angola LNG will be active in the production of liquefied natural gas ("LNG") in Angola and the worldwide supply of LNG. The Commission found that the transaction would not raise competition concerns because of Angola LNG's moderate anticipated market share, the presence of a number of credible competitors in the market concerned and competitors’ unchanged ability to access re-gasification terminals.
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  • Commission approves joint venture between Freudenberg and Trelleborg in anti-vibration systems for automobiles sector
    14 May 2012
    The Commission has cleared the proposed creation of Trelleborg Vibracoustic, a joint venture combining the automotive anti-vibration systems activities of Freudenberg of Germany and Trelleborg of Sweden. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns, in particular because a number of strong competitors will remain active on the market. As a result, customers will still have sufficient alternative suppliers in all the markets concerned.
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State aid

  • Commission adopts rules on national support for industry electricity costs in context of the EU Emission Trading Scheme
    22 May 2012
    The Commission has adopted a framework under which Member states may compensate some electro-intensive users, such as steel and aluminium producers, for part of the higher electricity costs expected to result from a change to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) as from 2013. The rules ensure that national support measures are designed in a way that preserves the EU objective of decarbonising the European economy and maintains a level playing field among competitors in the internal market. The sectors deemed eligible for compensation include producers of aluminium, copper, fertilisers, steel, paper, cotton, chemicals and some plastics.
    Read more >
  • Commission temporarily approves aid for the resolution of Greek T Bank
    16 May 2012
    The Commission has temporarily approved around €680 million of state support granted by the Hellenic Deposit and Investment Guarantee Fund to facilitate the acquisition of the economic activities of the Greek T Bank by Hellenic Postbank in the context of T Bank's resolution. The Commission approved the measure in order to preserve financial stability, before it takes a final decision on the restructuring of Hellenic Postbank.
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  • Commission approves ING's restructuring plan from 2009 anew and opens an in-depth investigation on later amendments to the plan
    11 May 2012
    The Commission has approved ING's restructuring aid, based on a restructuring plan submitted in 2009. The Commission needed to adopt this new decision in order to provide legal clarity following the partial annulment by the General Court of its original decision of November 2009. Since then, the Dutch State and ING also notified to the Commission amendments to the plan. The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation, to assess these changes. In parallel, the Commission has appealed the General Court's judgement before the EU Court of Justice.
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    Frequently asked questions >

Court

  • T-111/08 Mastercard v Commission
    24 May 2012
    The General Court dismissed an action brought by MasterCard against a Commission decision of 2007 prohibiting MasterCard's cross-border inter-bank fees. The judgment is important because it confirms the Commission's finding that these fees restrict competition as they inflate the cost of card acceptance by merchants without leading to benefits for consumers. The judgment confirms that banks, in the framework of a card payment scheme, cannot restrict competition by agreeing on certain charges to the detriment of consumers.
    Read more >
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about initial Commission decision >
    Frequently asked questions on initial Commission decision >
  • T-344/08 EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg v Commission
    22 May 2012
    The General Court ruled on an appeal against a Commission decision rejecting a request to access documents contained in the Commission's file of a cartel investigation. The General Court annulled the Commission's decision.
    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.

© European Union, 2012. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

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