UK: Focus Antitrust: Competition Weekly Email Alert - 18 May 2011

Last Updated: 19 May 2011
Article by Paul Stone


The European Commission has confirmed that Commission officials and their counterparts from the relevant national competition authorities, have carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of undertakings active in container liner shipping in several member states, on the basis that there is reason to believe that the undertakings concerned may have breached Article 101 and/or Article 102 TFEU. Click here.


European Courts

  • The General Court has dismissed appeals by Elf Aquitaine SA and its subsidiary Arkema France against the European Commission's decision to fine them for participation in relation to the sodium chlorate paper bleach illegal price-fixing and market-sharing cartel. It was held that the Commission was correct to presume that Elf Aquitaine had decisive influence of Arkema France such that it was liable for the infringement and the fine. Click here and here to read the judgments in French.

European Commission

  • The European Commission has published the seventh edition of the ECN Brief, the newsletter setting out the work of the European Competition Network. Click here.
  • The European Commission is consulting on commitments offered by Standard & Poor's (S&P) to address competition concerns relating to the distribution of US International Securities Identification Numbers to banks and information services providers in the EEA. Click here.

Mergers – Cleared

State aid

  • The General Court has annulled a decision of the European Commission requiring recovery of state aid granted to the Polish steel producer Technologie Buczek Group. The General Court found that the Commission had not substantiated its conclusion that the Polish authorities had not acted like a private creditor in the way in which it sought to recover public debts from the company and as such, had not demonstrated that the advantage that the company enjoyed constituted state aid. Click here to read the judgment in French.
  • The OECD has published a paper discussing competitive neutrality and stateowned enterprises. Click here.


  • Joaquin Almunia on competition policy issues in financial markets. Click here.
  • Joaquin Almunia speech on services of general economic interest. Click here.



  • Mergers cleared: Asda Stores Limited of a store in Kings Lynn from Anglia Regional Co-operative Society Ltd / Westgate Properties (Anglia) Limited and Anglia Cooperative (Food) Limited. Click here.
  • Mergers – Invitation to Comment: Lafarge S.A. / Anglo American Plc; Guoco Group Limited / Rank Group Plc; click here.
  • The OFT has published for consultation the text of undertakings that it intends to accept from Unilever in lieu of referring its acquisition of Alberto Culver Company to the Competition Commission under the Enterprise Act 2002. Click here.
  • The OFT has published its decision to release General Healthcare Group Holding Partnership LLP from the undertakings in lieu that required it to divest the Abbey Carrick Glen hospital, on the basis that there is no realistic prospect Abbey Carrick Glen Hospital could be sold as a going concern. Click here.
  • Following a report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs on concentration in the audit market in March 2011, the OFT has provisionally decided that there are competition problems in the audit market that pass the statutory test for referral to the Competition Commission, and has announced the next steps in its work on audit markets. Click here.


  • John Swift QC to mark the end of Peter Freeman's term as Chairman of the Competition Commission, click here.


  • The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has published an open letter from the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, inviting views on a review of the regulatory regime for the UK communications sector. Click here.
  • The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills has published an updated version of its Business Plan for 2011 to 2015. Click here.
  • Ofcom has published a statement setting out its approach to implementing the revised EU electronic communications regulatory framework. Click here.
  • Ofcom has published a consultation on amending the Premium Rate Services Condition to mirror the remit of PhonepayPlus under its new Code of Practice, which enters into force on 1 September 2011. Click here.
  • Ofcom has published externally commissioned technical research on the likely increases in 4G mobile capacity relative to 3G. 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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