Competition weekly news summary
4 April 2014

Conferences and Speeches

  • Fighting against cartels: A priority for the present and for the future
    Studienvereinigung Kartellrecht, Brussels, Joaquín Almunia
    3 April 2014
    "[...] today we have a powerful and resilient array of tools to detect and sanction the companies that take the ill-considered decision to set up a cartel. Managers, counsels, and everyone in a position to either set up a cartel or walk away from it should carefully balance the facts. The fight against cartels is and will remain a priority for the European Commission and for the national competition authorities in the EU. The odds that a cartel is detected and sanctioned can only go up."
    Read full speech >

Antitrust

  • Commission fines producers of high voltage power cables € 302 million for operating a cartel
    2 April 2014
    The Commission has found that 11 producers of underground and submarine high voltage power cables operated a cartel, and has imposed fines totalling €301 639 000. Such cables are typically used to connect generation capacity to the electricity grid or to interconnect power grids in different countries. From 1999 onwards and for almost ten years, these companies shared markets and allocated customers between themselves on an almost worldwide scale. Part of this plan was to allocate important high voltage power cable projects in the EEA, including large infrastructure and renewable energy projects such as offshore wind farms. Most of the world´s largest high voltage power cable producers participated in the illegal agreements.
    Read more >
    VP Almunia's statement >
  • Commission fines producers of steel abrasives € 30.7 million in cartel settlement
    2 April 2014
    The Commission has found that Ervin, Winoa, Metalltechnik Schmidt and Eisenwerk Würth participated in a cartel to coordinate prices for steel abrasives in Europe for over six years and has imposed fines totalling € 30 707 000. Steel abrasives are loose steel particles used for cleaning or enhancing metal surfaces in the steel, automotive, metallurgy and petrochemical industries. They are also used for cutting hard stones such as granite and marble. Ervin 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. Since all four undertakings agreed to settle the case with the Commission, their fines were reduced by 10%.
    Read more >
    VP Almunia's statement >

Mergers

  • Commission informs Marine Harvest of objections against early implementation of its acquisition of Morpol
    31 March 2014
    The Commission has sent its objections to salmon farmer and processor Marine Harvest ASA for early implementation of its acquisition of competitor Morpol ASA, both of Norway. In December 2012 Marine Harvest had acquired a 48.5% stake in Morpol. This transaction was notified only in August 2013 and cleared subject to conditions in September 2013. In the Commission's preliminary view, Marine Harvest has failed to notify its project to acquire Morpol to the Commission before it was implemented, in breach of the EU Merger Regulation. If the infringement is confirmed, the Commission may impose a fine of up to 10% of the company's annual worldwide turnover.
    Read more >

State aid

  • Entry into force of Commission's new Aviation guidelines
    4 April 2014
    The Commission's new state aid Aviation Guidelines, adopted in February 2014, were published in the EU Official Journal on 4 April 2014. These guidelines enter into force with their publication and replace the preceding 1994 and 2005 Aviation Guidelines. The day of entry into force, 4 April 2014, is also the starting day of the 10 year transitional period for phasing out of operating aid. Consequently, operating aid to airports with passenger traffic between 700 000 and 3 million will have to be phased out by 4 April 2024 at the latest.
    OJ C99, page 3 ff >
    Commission's press release >
    Aviation guidelines - Frequently asked questions >

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.

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