European Union: Focus Antitrust Competition Weekly Email Alert - 25 May 2011

Last Updated: 27 May 2011
Article by Paul Stone

In the News

The European Commission has decided to impose a fine of €8 million on Suez Environnement and its subsidiary Lyonnaise des Eaux for breaching an official seal that had been placed by Commission officials during an inspection into a suspected breach of the competition rules. Click here.


European Courts

  • Post Danmark: Advocate General Mengozzi has delivered his opinion on a preliminary reference from the Danish Supreme Court, concluding that it is an abuse under Article 102 TFEU for a dominant undertaking to grant selective price reductions, to a level lower than its average overall costs but higher than its average incremental costs, to the main client of its competitor, when the discounts offered can be cross-subsidised by income from the activity partially reserved of the dominant undertaking in the postal services market where it is the universal service provider, and which, as a result, has the effect of eliminating the said competitor. Click here to read the opinion in French.
  • The General Court has partly dismissed an application by SKW Stahl-Meallurgie for confidential treatment of certain parts of its pleadings in its appeal against the calcium carbide and magnesium based reagents cartel decision. Click here to read the order in French.

European Commission

  • The European Commission has published a series of press notices summarising the revised EU electronic communications regulatory framework (adopted in November 2009), which should have been implemented by member states by 25 May 2011. Click here , here, here and here.
  • The European Commission has commenced infringement proceedings against Romania in relation to its bilateral air service agreement with Russia, there being concerns that the agreement may hinder equal treatment of EU airlines and competition between European airlines. Similar proceedings have already been launched against 25 other member states. Click here.
  • The European Commission has closed an infringement case against Germany in relation to a legislative provision that could grant a "regulatory holiday" in relation to Deutsche Telekom's broadband internet access network, following a change to the German telecoms law. Click here.

Mergers – Cleared

Mergers – Invitation to Comment

State aid

  • The General Court has delivered its judgment in an application by Ryanair for a declaration that the Commission unlawfully failed to adopt a position on Ryanair's complaint about alleged state aid granted by Germany to Lufthansa and the Star Alliance partners, and an alleged abuse of a dominant position by Munich Airport. Click here.
  • The ECJ has dismissed an appeal by the Commission against a judgment of the General Court, which it considered had been correct to hold that undertakings that are not competitors of an aid beneficiary on the market for the goods that they manufacture could be interested parties for the purposes of a state aid investigation. Click here.
  • The European Commission has decided that Crédit Mutuel has not been overcompensated for its exclusive rights to distribute the livret bleu savings accounts in France. Although it did benefit from state aid for distributing these accounts, this aid was compatible with the rules on compensation for services of general economic interest. Click here.
  • The European Commission published a consultation on amending state aid Reporting requirements. Click here.
  • The European Commission has published its latest overview of national state aid measures adopted in response to the financial and economic crisis. Click here.


  • Joaquin Almunia: "A new decade for the International Competition Network". Click here.


UK Courts

  • The High Court has delivered a judgment in a contractual dispute between the manufacturer of Bach Flower Remedies (claimants) and its Italian distributor (defendant). The defendant argued, inter alia, that the distribution agreement was void and unenforceable since it contained restrictions which had as their object and effect the distortion of competition in Italy in breach of Article 101 TFEU. The Court dismissed the defendant's arguments and in respect of the competition defence, it considered that the defendant's case was not pleaded in enough detail to allow the claimants to know precisely what case they had to meet. Click here.


  • The CAT has published the transcript of a hearing in the damages action brought by Deutsche Bahn AG and 29 other claimants against addressees of the European Commission's carbon and graphite products cartel decision. Click here.
  • The CAT has published four summaries of appeals that have been lodged against an Ofcom decision imposing price controls in respect of wholesale mobile voice call termination. The appeals have been brought by British Telecommunications plc, Vodafone Limited, Hutchison 3G UK Limited and Everything Everywhere Limited. Click here, here, here and here.

Competition Commission

  • The Competition Commission has provisionally concluded that the acquisition by Ratcliff Palfinger Limited of the commercial tail lift spare parts business of Ross & Bonnyman Limited is not expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition. Click here.
  • The Competition Commission has published a notice of release of certain undertakings given by Kemira Growhow Oyj and Terra Industries Inc following its 2007 report on the joint venture between the companies. Click here.


  • The OFT has decided not to appeal against the CAT's judgment in the construction recruitment industry price-fixing case. Click here.
  • The OFT has published the first decision taken by the Procedural Adjudicator in the context of the OFT's ongoing investigation into the sports good retail sector, rejecting an application by Sports Direct International plc for early access to a formal information request issued to a third party. Click here.
  • Mergers Cleared: Walstead Investments/St Ives Web Division: Click here.
  • Mergers – Invitation to Comment: Survitec/Cosalt; Survitec/Zodiac; London Stock Exchange Group plc/Torex Group Inc. Click here.
  • Mergers – Full Text Decisions: Idox plc of Lalpac Limited – click here.


  • Ofcom has decided to use its powers under the Communications Act 2003 to resolve a dispute between O2 and each of Vodafone and H3G, concerning the charges for wholesale mobile voice call termination charged by each of Vodafone and H3G to O2 in respect of calls originating on O2s network and terminating on the networks of Vodafone and H3G in October 2010. Click here.
  • Ofcom has published a revised and corrected version of its consultation on proposals for new charge controls for Local Loop Unbundling and Wholesale Line Rental services. Click here.
  • Further to the Competition Commission's recommendations following its market investigation into the supply of groceries in the UK, a draft Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill has been published. Click here.
  • The final report of the government commissioned independent review of intellectual property and growth was published. The final report discusses the relationship between IP rights, innovation, growth and competition. 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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