Competition weekly news summary
1 February 2013

Conferences and speeches

  • State aid reform and the new Regional State Aid Guidelines
    Committee of the Regions plenary session, Brussels, Joaquín Almunia
    1 February 2013
    "We are modernising our control over government subsidies and aligning it with the challenges of our times. More than ever, we need to minimise the competition distortions that may be caused by them and leverage private investment. To focus government support on the less developed regions, we propose to concentrate the geographical scope of regional aid; reduce the maximum permissible levels of aid; and adopt a more targeted approach as to the type of investments or companies that can receive regional aid. Helping Europe's governments spend better means ensuring that the aid is not wasted and that it goes to investments that would not take place without the aid. Regions should invest in lasting and structural improvements, rather than luring mobile capital from one region to the next, creating windfall profits on the way."
    Read full speech >

Antitrust

  • Commission sends Statement of Objections to J&J and Novartis on delayed entry of generic pain-killer
    31 January 2013
    The Commission has informed the pharmaceutical companies Johnson & Johnson of the US and Novartis of Switzerland of its objections regarding an agreement concluded between their respective Dutch subsidiaries on fentanyl, a strong pain-killer. The Commission takes the preliminary view that the agreement delayed the market entry of a cheaper generic medicine in the Netherlands, in breach of EU antitrust rules.
    Read more >
    Commission's antitrust enforcement action in the pharmaceutical sector >
  • Commission closes investigation into European Minibulk and Container Feeder cooperatives
    31 January 2013
    The Commission has closed an antitrust investigation into two cooperation schemes of ship owners, European Minibulk eG and Container Feeder eG. These two maritime cooperatives established in Germany aimed to coordinate certain activities of the owners of minibulk and container feeder vessels, mainly in Northern Europe, for example the joint purchasing of inputs such as fuel. The Commission was concerned that a compensation system set up for owners laying-up their vessels (i.e. keeping them idle) would give them an incentive to withdraw capacity from the market. The Commission was also concerned that an information exchange scheme could have enabled the coordination of rates between competitors. Following discussions with the Commission the cooperatives agreed to abandon these two aspects of their cooperation before they had been implemented.
    Read more >

Mergers

  • Commission blocks proposed acquisition of TNT Express by UPS
    30 January 2013
    The Commission has prohibited the proposed acquisition of TNT Express by UPS. The Commission found that the take-over would have restricted competition in 15 Member States when it comes to the express delivery of small packages to another European country. In these Member States, the acquisition would have reduced the number of significant players to only 3 or 2, leaving sometimes DHL as the only alternative to UPS. The concentration would therefore have likely harmed customers by causing price increases. During the investigation, UPS offered to divest TNT's subsidiaries in these 15 countries and allow the buyer to access its intra-European air network for five years. The Commission carried out an in-depth assessment of the proposed remedies, including a market test where customers and other interested parties were consulted. However, the remedies proved inadequate to address the competition concerns.
    Read more >
    Read VP Almunia's statement >
    Frequently asked questions >

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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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