UK: Competition Weekly Email Alert – 6 April 2011

Last Updated: 12 April 2011
Article by Paul Stone

In the News

The European Commission has adopted a decision amending the fines imposed on ArcelorMittal and OriMartin/Siderurgica Latina Martin for their involvement in a price-fixing and market-sharing cartel in prestressing steel. The latest amendment to the fines reduces the total fines imposed substantially to EUR296 million. In the case of ArcelorMittal, it has been reported that the reduction in fines stems from the inability of the company's subsidiaries to pay. Click here.

Microsoft has lodged a formal complaint with the European Commission as part of the Commission's ongoing investigation into whether Google has breached Article 102 of the TFEU. Microsoft is complaining about a "pattern of actions that Google has taken to entrench its dominance in the markets for online search and search advertising to the detriment of European consumers". Click here.

European Commission officials have conducted unannounced inspections at the premises of Deutsche Bahn AG and some of its subsidiaries in relation to its investigation into allegations that Deutsche Bahn Energie, the de facto sole supplier of electricity for traction trains in Germany, is giving preferential treatment to Deutsche Bahn's rail freight business, in breach of Article 102 TFEU. Click here.


Article 101

  • The European Commission has published a summary of its September 2009 decision to re-adopt the Italian concrete reinforcing bar cartel decision in the Official Journal. Click here.

Mergers – Invitation to Comment

Mergers – cleared


Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT)

  • The CAT has delivered its judgment on appeals by Eden Brown, CDI and Hays against the fines imposed by the OFT in the recruitment cartel case for breach of the Chapter I prohibition of the Competition Act 1998. The CAT concluded that the fines imposed were too high for the scale and impact of the infringement in this case, substantially reducing the fine from approximately £39 million to £7.9 million. Click here.
  • Order extending a stay in damages actions brought against Degussa and a counter claim by Degussa against Sanofi Aventis SA and Aventis Animal Nutrition SA. The stay has been extended pending a possible appeal in the Emerson case against the CAT's decision to strike out claims against a company not listed in the original cartel decision. Click here.
  • Order granting a request by the OFT to extend the deadline for applying for permission to appeal against the judgment handed down on 24 March 2011 in the construction cover pricing cases. Click here.

Competition Commission

  • Final version published of OFT and CC joint guide on good practice in the design and presentation of consumer survey evidence in merger inquiries. Click here.
  • MBL/TrigoldCrystal: the CC has cancelled its inquiry, having received assurances from the parties that the proposed acquisition has been abandoned. Click here.
  • Ratcliff Palfinger/Ross & Bonnyman: issues statement setting out the main issues that the CC intends to consider during its investigation, including the relevant markets, the counterfactual and whether the merger is likely to result in a loss of competition. Click here.


  • Sector Treasury Services Ltd/ICAP plc's treasury management consultancy services business (known as Butlers): the OFT has decided to refer the completed acquisition to the Competition Commission. Click here
  • Alberto Culver/Unilever: full text of decision to seek undertakings in lieu of reference to the Competition Commission published. Click here.


  • Annual Plan 2011/12 and work programme for the coming year published. Click here.
  • Ofcom has issued a decision finding that Sky has breached the terms of Condition 14A (the wholesale must offer condition) of each of the Television Licensable Content Service licences for Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 in relation to the terms offered to BT for the supply of these channels. Click here.
  • Ofcom has published for consultation its proposals for new charge controls for Local Loop Unbundling and Wholesale Line Rental services. Click here.


  • House of Commons Treasury Committee report on competition and choice in retail banking. The Committee has recommended that further measures are necessary to promote competition in sector in order to tackle barriers to entry and expansion, and to promote greater competition between existing market players. The Independent Commission on Banking is advised to examine whether structural reform in the sector is required to reduce market concentration and promote competition. Click here.
  • House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs report on concentration in the audit market and the role of auditors. The Committee has called on the OFT to investigate the market. Click here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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