On Jan. 6, 2015, the French Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by
Orange against the decision of the Paris Court of Appeal of July
2013, which confirmed the decision of the French Competition
Authority (FCA) to fine telecoms operator Orange 60 million euros
(US$68.8 million). The fine resulted from Orange's abuse of a
dominant position in French overseas territories French Guiana,
Martinique and Guadeloupe. The original decision by the FCA had
found that between 2000 and 2005, Orange's wholly owned
subsidiary, Orange Caraïbe, had attempted to prevent
competitors from entering the market and to limit the growth of
other operators. Orange Caraïbe's anticompetitive
behaviour was found to include signing exclusivity agreements with
suppliers and using loyalty programs to encourage customers to sign
longer-term contracts. Orange Caraïbe's market share in
these overseas territories is estimated to have been around 75
Orange appealed this decision on the grounds that the Court of
Appeal had failed to take into account its arguments that Orange
Caraïbe had acted independently. This appeal was dismissed by
the Court de Cassation, which stated that there was a clear
relationship between Orange and Orange Caraïbe. The fact that
Orange Caraïbe's business plan took into account the
specificities of the local market was not enough to counteract the
fact that the subsidiary's management team and, to a certain
extent, its board of directors, consisted of personnel from the
There has been some criticism that the Court de Cassation placed
too much emphasis on Orange Caraïbe's high market share.
However, Orange has announced that it is prepared to pay the fine
and has made provision to do so. The French Supreme Court decision
can be found here.
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