Competition weekly news summary
29 November 2013


Conferences and Speeches

  • Structured dialogue, ECON
    European Parliament, Brussels, Joaquín Almunia
    26 November 2013
    "I have to say that public policy needs to foster a change of culture in the industry. Financial markets must be safer and more transparent. Competition enforcement and regulation must go hand in hand also in this field."
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  • European competition policy and Japan
    KEIDANREN (Japan Business Federation), Tokyo, Alexander Italianer
    22 November 2013
    “We are working together on an increasing number of cases. We cooperate not only in merger cases, but increasingly also in anti-trust cases. We have co-ordinated inspections and exchanged information. The contact between the case teams has been, and is, very good.”
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Competition

  • Commission opens registration for third European Competition Forum
    27 November 2013
    On 11 February 2014, the Commission will be hosting the third European Competition Forum. A wide range of speakers and panelists will discuss the challenges facing modern competition policy. The program and registration form are now available on the competition website.
    Go to conference site >

Antitrust

  • Commission fines four North Sea shrimps traders € 28 million for price fixing cartel
    27 November 2013
    The Commission has fined four European North Sea shrimps traders a total of € 28 716 000 for operating a cartel in breach of EU antitrust rules. The companies are Heiploeg, Klaas Puul, Kok Seafood (all of the Netherlands) and Stührk (of Germany). Between June 2000 and January 2009 Heiploeg and Klaas Puul agreed to fix prices and share sales volumes of North Sea shrimps in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Kok Seafood participated at least from February 2005 and Stührk was involved in price fixing in Germany in the period from March 2003 to November 2007. Klaas Puul received full immunity from fines under the Commission's 2006 Leniency Notice, as it was the first to provide information about the cartel.
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Mergers

  • Commission approves acquisition of Invensys by Schneider Electric in automation and control sector
    29 November 2013
    The Commission has approved the proposed acquisition of Invensys of the UK by Schneider Electric of France. Both companies supply, in particular, automation and control systems. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise any competition concerns, because the activities of the two companies are complementary and the merged entity would continue to face several strong competitors in the affected markets.
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  • Commission clears acquisition of Life Technologies by Thermo Fisher, subject to conditions
    26 November 2013
    The Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of Life Technologies Corp. by rival Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., both US-based companies active in life science markets. Their activities overlap in the supply of laboratory instruments and consumables. The clearance is conditional on divestments of businesses producing and supplying (i) media and sera for cell culture, (ii) gene silencing products and (iii) polymer-based magnetic beads. In these areas, the merger, as initially notified, would have significantly reduced competition.
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State aid

  • Commission prolongs General Block Exemption Regulation by six months
    29 November 2013
    The Commission has prolonged a regulation exempting certain categories of aid from prior Commission scrutiny (the General Block Exemption Regulation – GBER. The current GBER was adopted in July 2008 and is in the process of being revised. As the current regime was due to expire at the end of 2013, the Commission has prolonged it by six months, until 30 June 2014. The new GBER is expected to enter into force on 1 July 2014. Member States can continue to apply existing schemes until 30 June 2014, provided they had previously submitted the summary information sheets required for implementing schemes under the GBER to the Commission and the scheme is not substantially amended.
  • Commission authorises restructuring aid for Italian bank Monti dei Paschi di Siena
    27 November 2013
    The Commission has concluded that public support granted for the restructuring of the Italian bank Banca Monti dei Paschi di Siena S.p.A. (MPS) was in line with EU state aid rules. MPS received a state recapitalisation of €3.9 billion and state guarantees of €13 billion granted to MPS under the Italian guarantee scheme for banks. In view of MPS' commitments to raise at least €2.5 billion capital from the market and to redeem the full share of state bonds within five years, the Commission approved the measures for reasons of financial stability. The Commission is satisfied that MPS' restructuring plan ensures the long-term viability of the bank, provides for an appropriate contribution by MPS to the costs of restructuring and mitigates competition distortions created by the aid.
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  • Commission approves resolution of French mortgage lender Crédit Immobilier de France
    27 November 2013
    The Commission has approved the orderly resolution of Crédit Immobilier de France (CIF) for reasons of financial stability. France will provide up to €28 billion of state guarantees to fund the orderly resolution. According to the resolution plan CIF will cease any new business and run off its assets over a period of up to 22 years. This will eliminate any distortions of competition caused by the state guarantee.
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Court

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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, 2013. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

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