Competition weekly news summary
31 January 2014


Antitrust

  • Commission fines producers of foam for mattresses, sofas and car seats € 114 million in cartel settlement
    29 January 2014
    The Commission has found that the four major producers of flexible polyurethane foam - Vita, Carpenter, Recticel and Eurofoam - participated in a cartel and has imposed fines totalling € 114 077 000. Flexible polyurethane foam is mainly used in household furniture such as mattresses or sofas. Applications in the automotive sector – in particular for car seats - also account for around a quarter of the total flexible polyurethane foam market. The companies colluded to coordinate the sales prices of various types of foam for nearly five years, from October 2005 until July 2010, in 10 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and the UK). Vita was not fined as it benefited from immunity under the Commission's 2006 Leniency Notice for revealing the existence of the cartel to the Commission. Eurofoam (a joint venture between Recticel and Greiner Holding AG), Recticel and Greiner received reductions of their fines for their cooperation in the investigation under the Commission's leniency programme. Since all companies agreed to settle the case with the Commission, their fines were further reduced by 10%.
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Mergers

  • Commission continues investigation of Telefónica Deutschland / E-Plus merger without referral to Germany
    30 January 2014
    The Commission has rejected a request from Germany to refer the planned acquisition of E-Plus by Telefónica Deutschland to the German competition authority for assessment under German competition law. The Commission concluded that it was better placed to deal with the case because of its experience in assessing mergers in the mobile telecommunications sector and the need for a consistent application of the merger control rules in the EU. The Commission has until 14 May 2014 to take a final decision.
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State aid

  • Commission consults on draft Communication on State aid to promote Important Projects of Common European Interest
    28 January 2014
    The Commission is consulting the public on a draft communication on how Member States can support the execution of Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEIs). The draft communication is part of the State Aid Modernisation (SAM) agenda, which aims to modernise state aid control in order to foster smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It provides guidance to Member States on how they can support, in line with EU state aid rules, transnational projects which are of strategic dimension for the EU and for the realisation of the objectives of Europe 2020, the EU's growth strategy.
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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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