UK: Focus Antitrust - Competition Weekly Email Alert - 22 May 2013

Last Updated: 5 June 2013
Article by Paul Stone and Elora Mukherjee

In the News

European Commission conducts dawn raids in sugar sector

Officials of the European Commission, accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authorities, have conducted unannounced inspections at the premises of various companies active in the sugar sector in several member states. The European Commission is concerned that, with respect to the supply of white sugar, the companies may have behaved anti-competitively, in breach of Article 101 TFEU. Click here.

General Court delivers judgments on Marine Hose cartel appeals

The General Court has delivered three judgments on appeals by companies who were fined by the European Commission for their participation in the marine hoses cartel. The European Commission had initially fined Parker ITR Srl €25.6 million. The General Court held that the European Commission had wrongly attributed liability to Parker ITR for breaches committed before its acquisition by Parker-Hannifin and accordingly reduced the fine to €6.4 million. The General Court also held that Trelleborg had been involved in a single, repeated infringement, rather than a single, continuous infringement, however this did not have any impact on the imposed fine. With respect to Manuli Rubber Industries SpA, although the General Court found that the European Commission had erred in relation to the credit that it gave MRI for co-operation, it did not amend the imposed fine due the gravity and duration of the infringement. Click here.

Competition Commission announces provisional findings on aggregates, cement and ready-mix concrete market investigation

The CC has announced its provisional findings in its market investigation into the aggregates, cement and ready-mix concrete markets. Whilst the CC has provisionally concluded that there are no features of the aggregates or ready-mix concrete markets which lead to an adverse effect on competition, it considers that the structure and conduct in the cement market may adversely affect competition in the sector, by facilitating coordination between producers. It further considered that exclusive agreements in respect of to the supply and production of ground granulated blast furnace slag also give rise to an adverse effect on competition in the cement markets. In order to address the competition concerns identified, the CC is considering various remedies including divestiture of cement plants by producers and the creation of a cement buying group. Click here.


Article 101/102

  • The European Commission has published a summary of its decision to fine Telefónica and Portugal Telecom for breaching Article 101 TFEU by agreeing not to compete with each other on the Iberian telecommunications market. The European Commission found that the agreement between Telefónica and Portugal Telecom to deliberately limit competition on each of their home markets constitutes an illegal market sharing agreement. Click here.

State Aid

  • The ECJ has delivered a judgment on an appeal by the European Commission against a General Court judgment which found that the Commission had failed to fulfil its obligations to act by not adopting a decision on certain alleged state aid granted to Alitalia, following complaints by Ryanair. Click here.


Competition Commission

  • The CC has confirmed its provisional findings in its final report on the completed acquisition by Global Radio Holdings of GMG Radio Holdings (now Real and Smooth Limited) (RSL). The CC concluded that advertisers could be subject to higher costs for airtime in those areas where the parties compete. Click here.
  • The CC has published its final decision on an application by FirstGroup plc for a further variation to the behavioural undertakings it had given in 2004 to address the adverse effects resulting from its acquisition of the Scottish Passenger Rail Franchise. Click here.


  • The OFT has announced that during May 2013 it has launched a formal investigation into suspected breaches of competition law in relation to the supply of pharmaceutical products. The OFT has stated that since case is at an early stage, no assumption should be made that there has been an infringement of competition law. The OFT has indicated that it is likely to reach a decision on the next phase of this investigation in August 2013. Click here.
  • The OFT has published its decision, confirming its provisional decision, not to make a market investigation reference to the Competition Commission of the market for personal current accounts in the UK. 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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