Competition (Finland): Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority publishes report on competition in waste management sector in Nordic countries and report on municipal waste management in Finland

On 23 February 2016, the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority ("FCCA") published a report on municipal waste management in Finland ("Finnish Waste Report") and a report from the Nordic Competition Authorities on competition in the Nordic waste management sector ("Nordic Waste Report").  The Nordic Waste Report discusses possible public restraints on competition and similarities and differences in competition in waste management in the respective countries. It also explores possible solutions and recommendations for competition problems in this sector. The first part of the Nordic Waste Report presents previous work and discusses the evolution of waste management. It reviews the legal framework in the Nordic countries and the roles of different market operators. Further, it analyzes the creation and management of waste markets, with an emphasis on the role of municipalities and the economics of waste management. It defines and discusses the concept of competitive neutrality in relation to waste management. Finally, the Nordic Waste Report discusses the Extended Producer Responsibility ("EPR") concept for certain types of waste and considers various systems to allocate that responsibility.  The Nordic Waste Report's main conclusion is that considerable scope exists for increased competition within the waste management sector in the Nordic countries. Embracing market solutions may create opportunities for new, innovative solutions that could encourage cost savings, reduce resource scarcity and increase the overall efficiency of waste management services. The Nordic Waste Report emphasizes studies that have shown that using procurement procedures in waste management can lower costs considerably, especially for collection. New solutions and flexibility stemming from competition can also fulfil environmental goals.  The main conclusion of the Finnish Waste Report is that currently the most topical issues of municipal waste management relate to legislation and regulation. The Finnish Waste Report did not identify any competition violations in the municipal waste management sector, but neither did it rule out the possibility of such violations. Competitive neutrality problems may potentially arise in municipal waste management, because municipalities have multiple roles as organizers, administrators, regulators, and service providers. Source: Competition in the Waste Management Sector – Preparing for a Circular Economy (in English) and Report from the Nordic Competition Authorities 2016 and Report on municipal waste management, FCCA Report 2/2016 (in Finnish)

Merger Control: Commission publishes study on geographic market definition in Commission merger control

On 16 February 2016, the Commission published a study on geographic market definition in Commission merger control (the "Study"). The Study, conducted by the Centre for Competition Policy, University of East Anglia, evaluates the Commission’s recent practice of geographic market definition in merger cases. It analyzes ten recent merger cases from 2008 to 2014 in which geographic market definition had been key. For each of these ten merger cases, the Study assesses the Commission's geographic market analysis focusing on the methodology and the conclusions it reached on the basis of the available evidence. In addition, the Study analyzes how the Commission incorporated constraints from outside the geographic market in its competitive assessment. Finally, it examines whether a more flexible approach to supply-side substitution could have been considered, and whether such an approach might have changed the outcome of the case. The Study found no evidence that the Commission's approach to geographical market definition leads to poor merger decisions. According to the results, the Commission’s practice concerning geographic market definition is generally well-evidenced. Further, where geographic markets are drawn relatively narrowly, the Commission typically gives careful consideration to evidence of competitive constraints from outside the market. The Study found that the Commission typically draws on a wide range of evidence for its findings, rarely relying on a single item of evidence or analysis.  In addition to a broadly positive set of findings, the Report also makes some recommendations for improvement in geographic market definition. For example, it recommends that the Commission develop a more formal methodology for handling transport costs. In addition, the Report recommends that the Commission take greater care in appropriately defining separate upstream manufacturing and downstream distribution markets. Further, the Commission should provide greater clarity about the role of vertical integration in geographic market definition. Source: Geographic Market Definition in European Commission Merger Control, A Study for DG Competition by Amelia Fletcher and Bruce Lyons Centre for Competition Policy, University of East Anglia, January 2016

Public Procurement (Sweden): Swedish Council on Legislation proposes changes concerning legislative proposal

On 12 February 2016, the Swedish Council on Legislation published an opinion on the Swedish government's proposal for new legislation regarding public procurement ("Opinion"). The Opinion is extensive and contains many suggestions for changes in the legislative proposal. The objective of the legislative proposal is to implement Directive 2014/23/EU on concessions, Directive 2014/24/EU on public procurement and Directive 2014/25/EU on utilities procurement (jointly the "Directives"). In its Opinion, the Swedish Council on Legislation took a critical point of view of the Directives stating that they contain various shortcomings, which should not be carried forward into the amendment of the Swedish procurement laws. According to the Swedish Council on Legislation, the Directives include incomprehensive, irrational and contradictory provisions. Furthermore, the Swedish Council on Legislation criticized the Swedish government's legislative proposal for containing so many sections, altogether nearly 1,000, making the legislation difficult to follow and thus problematic to apply. The Directives must be implemented into national law by 18 April 2016. The Swedish government published its list of bills to be submitted to the Swedish Parliament during spring 2016 on 13 January 2016. Submission of the bill for the new procurement laws is expected in April, and the Swedish Parliament's revision of the bill is expected after summer 2016. Consequently, it seems that Sweden will not implement the Directives in accordance with the timeframe set by the Directives.  Source: Swedish Council on Legislation Opinion 12/02/2016 (in Swedish) and List of bills to be submitted by the Swedish government during spring 2016 12/01/2016 (in Swedish)

In addition, kindly note the following merger control decisions by the Commission which are published on the website of the Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition:

  • Commission approves diabetes joint venture between Sanofi and Google
  • Commission approves acquisition of Stork by Fluor
  • Commission approves acquisition of Blount International by American Securities
  • Commission approves acquisition of European budget hotel chain by PAI Partners
  • Commission approves acquisition of CBA and Sella Life by HDI
  • Commission approves acquisition of Norske Skog by Blackstone
  • Commission approves acquisition of FISCHAPARK by Allianz and SPAR
  • Commission approves joint venture between PostFinance AG and SIX Group AG