Competition weekly news summary
29 June 2012

Antitrust

  • Commission fines producers of water management products € 13 million in sixth cartel settlement
    27 June 2012
    The Commission has fined Flamco and Reflex a total of € 13 661 000 for operating together with Pneumatex a cartel on the markets for water management products from June 2006 to May 2008. Water management products are used in heating, cooling and sanitation systems. As the companies concerned acknowledged their participation in the cartel and their liability in this respect, their fines were reduced by 10%. Pneumatex was not fined because it had revealed the existence of the cartel to the Commission.
    Read more >
  • Commission re-imposes fines on Mitsubishi and Toshiba for gas insulated switchgear cartel following Court judgement
    27 June 2012
    The Commission has re-adopted a decision fining Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and Toshiba Corporation for their participation in a cartel on the markets for gas insulated switchgears, after part of the original decision was annulled by the European General Court (EGC) for a breach of equal treatment in the setting of the two companies' fines. The EGC entirely upheld the Commission's findings that the two companies had infringed EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and their liability for it. Today's decision ensures that Mitsubishi and Toshiba receive an appropriate fine for their participation in the cartel.
    Read more >

Mergers

  • Commission approves acquisition of joint control over Danish animal by-products company Daka by SARIA and Danish Crown
    29 June 2012
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of joint control over the newly created company Daka Denmark A/S by SARIA Bio-Industries AG & Co. KG of Germany and Danish Crown A/S of Denmark. Daka Denmark will take over the business activity of the Danish cooperative Daka a.m.b.a. The Commission's investigation confirmed that the proposed transaction would not significantly alter the structure of the markets concerned and that the merged entity would continue to face competition from a number of players.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves acquisition of IBM's retail store solutions business by rival Toshiba
    29 June 2012
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of IBM's retail store solutions business by Toshiba Tec, a majority owned subsidiary of the Japanese company Toshiba. Retail solutions are integrated systems of hardware and software that are used for processing sales transactions by retail store customers. They are capable of connecting and interoperating with a retailer’s other IT and software systems and are therefore distinguished from electronic cash registers. The Commission concluded that the transaction will not raise competition concerns because of the limited overlap between the parties' activities, in particular within the European Economic Area (EEA), and because the merged entity will face sufficient competition.
    Read more >
  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into Hutchison's take-over of Orange Austria
    29 June 2012
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into the planned acquisition of mobile network operator Orange Austria by rival Hutchison 3G Austria. Both companies provide mobile telephony services in Austria. The Commission has concerns that the transaction may significantly reduce competition for mobile telephone services for consumers, businesses and operators.
    Read more >
  • Commission clears acquisition of US-based SPX' Service Solutions Business by Robert Bosch
    26 June 2012
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of the US-based SPX Corporation's repair shop equipment business by Robert Bosch of Germany. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns because the parties would continue to face sufficient competitive constraints on the markets concerned.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves acquisition of computer distributor Altimate by rival Arrow
    26 June 2012
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of Altimate, a French company active in the distribution of software and IT hardware products, by Arrow, a US company also operating in this market. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns because of the limited overlap between the parties' activities and because the merged entity will face sufficient competition.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves acquisition of controlling stake in LCD panel producer Sharp Display Products by Taiwanese electronic company Hon Hai
    25 June 2012
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of joint control over the Japanese producer of LCD panels Sharp Display Products Corporation (SDP) by Sharp Corporation of Japan and Hon Hai of Taiwan. SDP is currently solely controlled by Sharp. The Commission concluded that the parties' market shares would remain modest and that they would continue to face significant competition.
    Read more >

State aid

  • Commission temporarily approves public support granted to Danish FIH Erhvervsbank A/S ("FIH") and opens a formal investigation
    29 June 2012
    The Commission has temporarily authorised an impaired asset measure and an asset relief measure in favour of FIH Erhvervsbank A/S. The public support measures are approved for a period of six months in order to preserve financial stability. In parallel, the Commission has opened a formal investigation because it is concerned that the State may not be adequately remunerated for its support and because of the risks remaining in FIH's balance sheet.
    Read more >
  • Commission consults on draft Communication on short-term export credit insurance
    29 June 2012
    The Commission is inviting comments on its first draft of a revised communication on the application of EU state aid rules to short-term export credit insurance. After a first round of consultations and based on its experience in applying the communication, the Commission proposes to clarify and simplify the current rules, which will expire on 31 December 2012. In light of the comments received, the Commission will adopt a reviewed communication in December 2012.
    Read more >
  • Commission extends in-depth investigation on Alghero airport in Italy
    27 June 2012
    The Commission has extended the scope of an in-depth investigation opened in 2007 concerning the Italian regional airport Alghero, to investigate whether additional support measures are in line with EU state aid rules.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves state support for Spanish Bankia/BFA
    27 June 2012
    The Commission has temporarily approved a conversion of existing state owned preference shares of €4,465 billion into equity and a liquidity guarantee amounting to €19 billion in favour of the Spanish BFA group and its subsidiary Bankia. Spain has committed to provide a restructuring plan for BFA and Bankia within six months. The approved aid does not include announced capital injections sought by BFA and which are currently under assessment by the Spanish authorities.
    Read more >
  • Commission authorises transitional free allocation of greenhouse gas emission allowances for the modernisation of electricity generation installations in Cyprus and Estonia
    27 June 2012
    The Commission has concluded that certain provisions of Cyprus's and Estonia's development plans for the electricity sector allocating carbon emission trading allowances free of charge are in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission found that the funds (€371 million for Estonia and €194 million for Cyprus) granted will be used to modernise the production infrastructure, diversify the energy mix and to build new installations to replace capacity. This will contribute to liberalising energy markets, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the security of supply, in line with EU objectives.
    Read more >
  • Commission finds contracts between Bizkaia and Habidite for construction modules factory in Alonsotegi (Spain) contain state aid
    27 June 2012
    After an in-depth investigation, the Commission concluded that two contracts signed in December 2006 between the Diputación Foral de Bizkaia and Habidite Technologies País Vasco SA for the set-up of a construction module factory in Alonsotegi and the delivery of 1500 modular homes contained illegal state aid. The measures had not been notified to the Commission before they were granted and were therefore unlawful. However, as the project was suspended during the investigation, no aid has been disbursed and no recovery is necessary.
    Read more >
  • Commission approves restructuring aid for Air Malta
    27 June 2012
    Following an in-depth investigation, the Commission has concluded that €130 million of public support granted to the state-owned airline Air Malta for its restructuring is in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission found that the restructuring plan adequately addresses the financial problems of Air Malta. The restructuring measures, which include a significant capacity reduction and the sale of assets, should ensure that Air Malta becomes viable in the long term without continued state support, whilst avoiding undue distortions of competition.
    Read more >
  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into compensation received by SNCM and CMN for the Marseille-Corsica sea link
    27 June 2012
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to establish whether compensation received by Société Nationale Corse-Méditerranée (SNCM) and Compagnie Maritime de Navigation (CMN) for operating the sea routes between Corsica and Marseille is in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the Commission has doubts about the need for and proportionality of the public service obligation and also about the compensation mechanism.
    Read more >

Court

  • Cases T-360/09 E.ON Ruhrgas e.a./Commission and T-370/09 GDF Suez/Commission
    29 June
    The General Court ruled on appeals by E.ON and GDF Suez against a Commission decision of 2009 fining both companies for market sharing agreements in the German and French markets for natural gas. The Court confirmed the main findings of the Commission but reduced the duration of the infringement and consequently the fines of both companies.
    Read full E.ON judgment >
    Read full GDF Suez judgment >
    Read more about initial Commission decision >
  • Cases C-404/10 P Commission/Editions Odile Jacob and C-477/10 P Commission/Agrofert Holding
    28 June 2012
    The Court of Justice ruled on appeals by the Commission against two judgments of the General Court that had annulled a Commission decision refusing access to documents related to two merger cases. The ECJ held in particular that it is common that documents submitted to the Commission in relation to a merger relate to an investigation and that the information they contain is commercially sensitive. The ECJ then found that there is a general presumption that disclosure of documents exchanged between the Commission and undertakings in the course of merger control proceedings undermines, in principle, both protection of the objectives of investigation activities and that of the commercial interests of the undertakings involved in those proceedings. The ECJ therefore set aside the judgments of the General Court in so far as they annul the decisions of the Commission refusing access to those documents.
    Read full ECJ judgment on Editions Odile Jacob >
    Read full ECJ judgment on Agrofert Holding >
    Read full GC judgment under appeal on Editions Odile Jacob >
    Read full GC judgment under appeal on Agrofert Holding >
  • Case C-485/10 Commission vs Greece - Hellenic Shipyards
    28 June 2012
    The Court of Justice ruled on an action by the Commission, regarding Greece's failure to implement a Commission decision of 2008 ordering Greece to recover incompatible state aid from Hellenic shipyards. The ECJ held that by not recovering the incompatible aid Greed had failed to fulfill its obligations under the Commission decision.
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about initial Commission decision >
  • Commission welcomes General Court judgment in Microsoft compliance case
    27 June 2012
    The Commission welcomed a General Court judgment essentially upholding a Commission decision of 2008 imposing a penalty payment on Microsoft for not complying with the Commission's 2004 Microsoft decision. The judgment is the first in which the General Court has ruled on a penalty payment imposed on a company for non-compliance with an antitrust prohibition decision. The Court's ruling vindicates the Commission's efforts to ensure full compliance with its antitrust decisions, in particular the 2004 decision. As a result of the Commission's enforcement action, a range of innovative products have come to market that would otherwise not have seen the light of day.
    Read VP Almunia's statement >
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about 2008 penalty payment decision >
    Read more about intial 2004 Commission decision on Microsoft >
  • Fasteners cartel: Cases T-439/07 Coats/Commission, T-445/07 Berning/Commission, T-448/08 YKK/Commission
    27 June 2012
    The General Court ruled on appeals against a Commission decision of 2007 fining several companies for operating a cartel in the market for fasteners. The Court dismissed the appeals and entirely upheld the Commission decision.
    Read full judgment on Coats >
    Read full judgment on Berning >
    Read full judgment on YKK >
    Read more about initial Commission decision >
  • Case T-372/10 Bolloré / Commission
    27 June 2012
    The General Court ruled on an appeal by Bolloré against a Commission decision of 2010 re-imposing a fine on Bolloré for its cartel activities in the carbonless paper sector. The Court dismissed the appeal and entirly upheld the Commission decision.
    Read full judgment >
    Read more about 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.

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