On 17 January 2011, the French Competition Authority (the
'Authority') published draft guidelines for setting
These are intended to increase the transparency and
predictability of antitrust fines and to allow a balance to be
struck between their deterrent effect and their proportionality to
the infringement they sanction.
In practice, the Authority shall set a basic amount varying
between 0 and 30% of the value of the sales generated by the
undertaking's infringement. The variation will depend on the
gravity of the infringement and the economic harm the infringement
The Authority will then modify this amount taking into account
(i) the individual behaviour of the undertaking, (for example, the
amount will decrease if the undertaking was forced to infringe
antitrust rules and increase if it played a leading role) and (ii)
the objective situation of the undertaking, such as its size, the
fact that it operates only on one market, or that it belongs to a
group. The aggravating factor of recidivism will then be examined
The Authority may finally decrease the fine on the basis of its
leniency program or settlement procedure. It will then check to
ensure the fine does not exceed a statutory cap. It may then assess
whether the undertaking would have financial difficulties in paying
the fine, if such a claim is made by the undertaking.
The draft guidelines do not cover the issue of compliance
programs or settlement procedures, which will be subject to
specific guidelines. This draft will be open to public consultation
until 11 March 2011. A roundtable will then be held on 30 March
2011, before the publication of the final document.
To view Community Week, Issue 505; 21st January 2011
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