European Union: EU Competition Bulletin - 27 March 2012

Last Updated: 4 April 2012
Article by Gillian Sproul

Originally published 27 March 2012

Keywords: European Union, competition, merger, state aid


EU – Phase I merger notifications



Further Information


CVC: leveraged buyouts, in particular, advising and managing investment funds which participate in and finance other companies in Europe, North America and Asia.

Ahlsell: Swedish holding company of a group active in the wholesale and retail distribution of installation products including heating, plumbing, electrical, tools, machinery and refrigeration products, and the wholesale distribution of DIY products in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Poland and Russia.

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GIP/Fluxys G/Fluxys Switzerland

GIP: independent fund investing in infrastructure and infrastructure-related assets, including natural gas businesses in the United States.

Fluxys G: holding company of Fluxys group, active in European natural gas transmission infrastructure and related services.

Fluxys Switzerland: wholly-owned Swiss subsidiary of Fluxys whose sole purpose is to acquire certain natural gas pipeline businesses in Switzerland which Eni had committed to the European Commission to sell.

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PGGM/Barclays Bank/UPP Group

Not yet specified.

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EU – Key merger clearances



Further Information

Saint-Gobain/Trakya/ Sisecam/JV

Saint-Gobain: production and sale of glass, ceramics, plastics and building materials, and distribution of building materials in the EEA.

Trakya: production and sale of glass, glassware, glass packaging and chemicals.

Sisecam: manufacture and sale of glass, glassware, glass packaging and chemicals.

AGAR: manufacture and sale of automotive glass in Russia.

AGART: importation and sale of specific automotive glass products.

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STE: engineering group providing services in the aerospace, electronics, land systems and marine sectors.

UTC: high technology products and services for the buildings system and aerospace industries.

JV: EcoPower aircraft engine washing services.

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Total/Novatek/Oao Yamal LNG

Total: natural gas and oil production, refining and marketing of oil products, petrochemicals and specialty chemicals.

Novatek: exploration, production, processing and marketing of natural gas and liquid hydrocarbons.

Yamal LNG: geological exploration and production of hydrocarbon raw materials at a Russian Federation natural gas and condensate field.

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Commission opens Phase II investigation into acquisition of EMI recorded music business by Universal On 23 March 2012, the European Commission decided to open a an in-depth investigation under Article 6(1)(c) of the EU Merger Regulation into the proposed acquisition of EMI's recorded music business by Universal Music Group. The Commission has identified competition concerns in the wholesale of physical and digital recorded music in a number of member states and in the EEA as a whole. Read more.

Advocate General's opinion on member states charging telecom providers for using facilities installed on public property On 22 March 2012, Advocate General Sharpston gave an opinion on a reference for a preliminary ruling from a Spanish court on whether member states are permitted by Article 13 of the Authorisation Directive (Directive 2002/20) to charge mobile telephony operators a fee for the use of facilities installed on public property and owned by another undertaking. She concluded that Article 13 has direct effect and does not allow member states to charge such a fee. A fee may only be charged for installation. Read more.


OFT consults on undertakings in lieu in acquisition by Jewson of Build Center On 23 March 2012, the OFT consulted on the undertakings it is prepared to accept from Jewson Limited, which is ultimately controlled by Saint-Gobain, in lieu of referring the completed acquisition of Wolseley plc's Build Center to the Competition Commission. The OFT invites comments on the draft undertakings by 11 April 2012. Read more.

OFT Annual Plan 2012-2013 On 22 March 2012, the OFT published its Annual Plan 2012-2013. In particular, the OFT has three strategic objectives for 2012-2013: high impact enforcement to achieve compliance with competition, influencing and changing behaviour in markets, and building organisational delivery and capability. The OFT intends to focus on markets with high levels of consumer detriment, where it can support economic growth or where it can shape emerging business models. Read more.

Update on implementation of Plan for Growth – competition issues On 21 March 2012, as part of the 2012 Budget, HM Treasury and BIS together published an update on the implementation of the UK government's "Plan for Growth". This update notes the progress on competition, public procurement and regulated utilities. Read more.

State aid

General Court annuls Commission State aid decision regarding excise duty for alumina On 21 March 2012, the General Court annulled a Commission decision on the application of State aid rules to an exemption from excise duties for alumina production that had been implemented by France, Ireland and Italy. The exemption concerned mineral oils used as fuel for alumina production in Gardanne, the Shannon region and Sardinia. Read more.

Commission approves pension relief and restructuring aid in favour of the Royal Mail Group On 21 March 2012, following an in-depth investigation, the European Commission announced that it has approved the UK government's plans to relieve the Royal Mail of excessive pension costs and to provide restructuring aid consisting of a debt reduction of £1,089 million. Read more.

Commission opens in-depth investigations into aid to airports in Belgium, France and Germany On 21 March 2012, the European Commission announced that it has opened an in-depth investigation into whether financial arrangements between public authorities and airports Charleroi (Belgium), Angoulême (France) and Dortmund (Germany), and certain rebates and marketing agreements concluded between these airports and airlines using them, are in line with EU State aid rules. Read more.

Financial Fair Play rules in professional football are confirmed to comply with EU State aid policy On 21 March 2012, Joaquin Almunia, Vice President of the European Commission and Michel Platini, UEFA President, issued a joint statement on the interaction between the UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules for professional football and the control of State aid by the Commission. The statement announces that the Commission and UEFA will cooperate and discuss the fiscal treatment of clubs in general, and the treatment of clubs receiving rescue and restructuring aid from public authorities. Read more.

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