Competition weekly news summary
30 August 2013


Antitrust

  • Commission market tests commitments proposed by Deutsche Bahn concerning pricing system for traction current in Germany
    15 August 2013
    The Commission is inviting comments from interested parties on commitments offered by the German railway incumbent Deutsche Bahn (DB) regarding its pricing system for traction current in Germany. Traction current is electricity used to power locomotives. DB Energie, the DB subsidiary providing traction current to railway companies, is the only traction current supplier in Germany. The Commission has concerns that DB Energie's pricing system, and in particular discounts that only railway companies of the DB Group can achieve fully, may have hampered the development of competition on the markets for rail freight and long-distance passenger transport, in breach of EU antitrust rules. To dispel these concerns, DB has offered to introduce a new pricing system for traction current that would apply uniformly to all railway companies and should enable other electricity providers to directly supply traction current to railway companies.
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Mergers

  • Commission clears creation of joint e-commerce venture between Telefónica, CaixaBank and Banco Santander
    14 August 2013
    The Commission has cleared the creation of a joint venture between the Spanish telecommunications operator Telefónica and two Spanish banks, CaixaBank, controlled by La Caixa–Caja de Ahorros, and Banco Santander. The joint venture will develop a virtual community for merchants and consumers in Spain providing services to its members, such as digital advertising and data analytics services to merchants, as well as digital wallet services, with peer-to-peer payment functionality to consumers.
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  • Commission approves proposed merger between US Airways and American Airlines' holding company AMR Corporation, subject to conditions
    5 August 2013
    The ommission has cleared the proposed merger between US Airways Group and AMR Corporation, including its main subsidiary American Airlines, Inc, all of the United States. Both US Airways and American Airlines are major US flag commercial airlines providing scheduled air passenger services. The transaction would lead in particular to a monopoly on the London-Philadelphia route, where US Airways and American Airlines through its membership in a metal neutral joint venture with British Airways and Iberia (the "Transatlantic Joint Business", see background) are the only carriers offering non-stop flights (the route is de facto operated by British Airways). The decision is conditional upon the release of one daily slot pair at London Heathrow and of other commitments in order to induce entry on the London-Philadelphia route. In light of these comprehensive commitments, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns.
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State aid

  • Commission approves amendments to German bank NORD/LB's restructuring plan
    22 August 2013
    The Commission has concluded that additional commitments provided by Germany in the context of the restructuring of NORD/LB ensure that the state aid granted to the bank remains compatible with the internal market. This remains the case after the amendments to the terms of the so-called Fürstenberg hybrids, a set of four tranches of tier-1 instruments held by sundry investors.
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