On 15 April 2010, the Paris Court of Appeal (the "Court") confirmed the reduction of fines imposed on two French cement manufacturers for unlawful vertical agreements in the sector of cement supply and distribution in Corsica. The Court also concluded there was no collective abuse of a dominant position.
In 2007, the French Competition Council (the "Council") - the former French Competition Authority, imposed a €25 million fine on the two French cement manufacturers, Lafarge and Vicat, for entering into an agreement to obtain exclusive supply to Corsican distributors and for collectively abusing their dominant position by granting anticompetitive discounts to any Corsican distributor which agreed not to import their competitors' cement.
In 2008, the Court found that there was only a limited damage to the economy and reduced the fine from €25 million to €14.5 million. In 2009, the French Court of cassation confirmed the cartel but ordered the Court to re-examine the collective abuse of a dominant position for lack of legal motivation.
The French Court of cassation ruled that a collective dominant position requires that Lafarge and Vicat are able to cut themselves off from competition independently from any cartel.
On 15 April 2010, the Court followed the French Court of cassation's ruling and concluded in this case that a finding of collective abuse of a dominant position is inconsistent with a finding of practices infringing cartel rules (i.e. there cannot be an ability to act independently and a need to enter into unlawful vertical agreements).
The Court held there was no collective abuse of a dominant position and confirmed the fine it had previously imposed in 2008.
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