Competition weekly news summary
27 June 2014


Antitrust

  • Commission fines three producers of canned mushrooms € 32 million in cartel settlement
    25 June 2014
    The Commission has found that Lutèce, Prochamp and Bonduelle participated in a cartel to coordinate prices and allocate customers of canned mushrooms in Europe during more than a year and has imposed fines totalling € 32 225 000. Lutèce 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. Prochamp benefitted from fine reductions. Since all three undertakings agreed to settle the case with the Commission, their fines were further reduced by 10%.
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  • Commission adopts revised safe harbour rules for minor agreements (De Minimis)
    25 June 2014
    The Commission has issued revised rules for assessing when minor agreements between companies are not caught by the general prohibition of anticompetitive practices under EU competition law. The Notice facilitates the assessment of compliance with EU antitrust rules for companies, especially SMEs. At the same time it allows the Commission to concentrate its resources on agreements with a higher risk of distorting competition in the Single Market.
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  • Commission extends validity of special competition regime for liner shipping consortia until April 2020
    24 June 2014
    The Commission has extended by another five years until April 2020 the validity of the existing legal framework exempting, if certain conditions are met, liner shipping consortia from EU antitrust rules. After a public consultation, the Commission has concluded that the exemption has worked well, providing legal certainty to agreements which bring benefits to customers and do not unduly distort competition, and that current market circumstances warrant a prolongation.
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Mergers

  • Commission authorises EDF to acquire Dalkia’s operations in France
    25 June 2014
    The Commission has authorised EDF’s proposed acquisition of Dalkia France, Dalkia Investissement and the other subsidiaries of Dalkia in France (‘Dalkia’). EDF is France’s primary producer and supplier of electricity, while Dalkia offers a full range of energy services. The two companies therefore operate primarily in related areas in the energy sector. The Commission looked at the effects of the transaction on the markets where EDF and Dalkia are both present. The Commission found that the increase in market share was limited and that there would still be a sufficient number of competitors after the merger to prevent any distortion of competition to the detriment of consumers.
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  • Commission continues investigation of Liberty Global / Ziggo merger without referral to the Netherlands
    25 June 2014
    The Commission has decided not to refer the planned acquisition of Ziggo by Liberty Global to the Dutch competition authority for assessment under Dutch competition law. Although under the EU Merger Regulation, the Commission has jurisdiction to examine this proposed transaction, the Dutch competition authority (ACM) had submitted a request to review it instead. The Commission concluded that the Dutch competition authority was not better placed to examine the transaction because of the Commission's experience in assessing many mergers in the converging media and telecommunications sectors, the presence of Liberty Global in 12 countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), and the need for a consistent application of the merger control rules. The Commission will therefore continue its investigation and has until 17 October 2014 to take a final decision.
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State aid

  • Commission approves €400 million aid to STMicroelectronics for the Nano2017 research programme
    25 June 2014
    The Commission has concluded that aid by France to STMicroelectronics (ST) for the development of new technologies in the nanoelectronics sector is in line with EU rules on state aid. The project will help to achieve EU targets in the field of science and the environment without unduly distorting competition.
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  • Commission approves regional aid map 2014-2020 for Bulgaria
    25 June 2014
    The Commission has approved Bulgaria's map for granting state aid between 2014 and 2020 within the framework of the new regional aid guidelines adopted by the Commission in June 2013. The new guidelines set out the conditions under which Member States can grant state aid to businesses for regional development purposes. They aim to foster growth and greater cohesion in the Single Market.
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  • Commission opens in-depth investigation into compensation to operator of Polish A2 motorway
    25 June 2014
    The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to verify whether compensation paid by the Polish state to Autostrada Wielkopolska S.A. (AWSA), the operator of part of the Polish A2 motorway, was in line with EU state aid rules. The measure was intended to compensate AWSA for a change in Polish law exempting heavy goods vehicles from the obligation to pay motorway tolls. At this stage, the Commission has serious concerns that the compensation, or part of it, may have provided AWSA with an undue economic advantage that may distort competition in the Single Market.
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  • Commission approves aid for information technology projects in Lithuania
    25 June 2014
    The Commission has found that a Lithuanian scheme aimed at boosting the information technology (ICT) sector in Lithuania is in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the Commission has concluded that the measure contributes to EU cohesion policy objectives by furthering the development of Lithuania's less advantaged regions without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.
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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, 2014. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

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