On 1 April 2015, the French Competition Authority (FCA) conducted surprise searches at the companies’ offices. The raids followed suspicions that the two telecom operators started their merger before the FCA gave its approval to the transaction in October 2014. The companies could face fines if the authority determines that they started to implement the merger prior to obtaining approval.

EU Mergers

Phase I Mergers

  • M.7513 – AR PACKAGING GROUP / MWV EUROPEAN TOBACCO AND GENERAL PACKAGING FOLDING CARTON OPERATIONS (01/04/2015)
  • M.7519 – REPSOL / TALISMAN ENERGY (09/04/2015)
  • M.7536 – ALLIANZ / AIMCO / UTA / PORTERBROOK (10/04/2015)
  • M.7547 – VARO / GEKOL (07/04/2015)

State Aid

Commission approves three French aid schemes in the aviation sector. On 7 April 2015, the European Commission announced that it has approved (for a period of 10 years) three French aid schemes for airports and airlines. The schemes cover investment aid and operating aid to airports and start­up aid for new routes. The Commission is satisfied that the schemes comply with the 2014 Guidelines on state aid to airports and airlines.

Commission approves restructuring aid for Irish bank Permanent TSB. On 9 April 2015, the European Commission announced that it has decided to approve the grant by Ireland of restructuring aid in favour of the bank Permanent TSB. The Commission has concluded that the restructuring plan submitted by Ireland will enable the bank to become viable in the long­term without further state support. It also ensures that the bank and its owners contribute to the cost of restructuring and that competition distortions resulting from the state aid are limited. The Commission has, therefore, decided that the state aid granted to the bank is in line with its Communications on state aid to banks during the financial crisis.

Trade

China complains at World Trade Organization about EU measures on poultry. On 8 April 2015, China complained at the World Trade Organization about EU measures that it considers unfairly favour poultry imports from Brazil and Thailand over those from China. Beijing said that the EU decided in 2013 to source 96% of its ready­to­eat poultry imports from Brazil and Thailand, with the remainder to come from China and other countries. The Chinese complaint stated that this resulted in a significant drop in the quantity of poultry China imports to the EU.

Speeches & Publications

Ofcom latest research on 4G and 3G network performance. On 2 April 2015, Ofcom published the results of its latest research into the performance of the retail 3G and 4G networks of the UK’s four national mobile network operators (MNOs): EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. This updates research published in November 2014 and covers the period October to December 2014. The research took place in five UK cities where 4G services were offered by all four MNO (for this report, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Newcastle, and Poole/Bournemouth) and tested download speed, web browsing speed, upload speed and latency.