Cases before the commission

Declarations of dominance
Cases before the Supreme Court of Justice


This update presents a summary of the most important competition issues discussed in the legislative administrative and judicial fields in Mexico during 2011.

On May 11 2011 amendments to the Federal Law on Economic Competition entered into force. The aim was to make Mexico's competition legislation more effective.

They provided the Federal Competition Commission with greater powers to investigate possible anti-competitive activities and implemented more severe penalties for economic agents that breach competition legislation. Likewise, the amendments introduce a new form of administrative trial for challenging commission resolutions. However, its implementation is not expected until mid-2012. In August 2011 Congress approved amendments to the Federal Code on Civil Procedure, due to enter into force in March 2012. It provides for the ability to enforce collective actions for damages resulting from monopolistic practices or prohibited mergers.

Cases before the commission

In 2011 the commission reviewed approximately 90 mergers. Among the most significant were those involving:

  • Grupo México and Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico, in the context of a bid for the International Airport of the Riviera Maya;(1)
  • Fedex Corporation, Grupo ADO and Multipack, in the market for lightweight package delivery;
  • British Airways, Iberia Líneas Aéreas de España and American Airlines, in the market for passenger transportation by air;
  • Banco Santander and General Electric Company, in mortgage market; and
  • Grupo Financiero Banorte and IXE Grupo Financiero, in the banking, investment and brokerage market.

Cartels and other anti-competitive practices
In 2011 the commission initiated four investigations into absolute monopolistic practices within the national territory, addressing:

  • bids from the Social Insurance Institute;
  • the hospital or healthcare facilities services market;
  • fixed-line, internet access and television network markets for final consumers; and
  • the natural gas distribution and commercialisation market.

Of the six cases resolved in 2011 that concerned absolute monopolistic practices, the commission ruled against the undertakings and imposed penalties in only two. The other cases were closed due to lack of evidence.

In the cases in which penalties were applied, the commission imposed total fines of nearly Ps40 million on shipping line operators for having agreed to raise the prices of maritime passenger transportation on the Cancún-Isla Mujeres and Playa del Carmen-Cozumel routes.

The second case related to the truck cargo services market. An economic agent, relying on the immunity programme, informed the commission of price-fixing agreements, restraint of supply and allocation of the market in Baja California Sur. The commission imposed total penalties of Ps24 million.

Abuse of dominant position
In 2011 the commission initiated six investigations regarding relative monopolistic practices, relating to:

  • the liquefied petroleum gas storage and distribution market in the La Laguna region;
  • the supply of petroleum-related products to petrol stations within the franchise system of the state-controlled oil company Pemex;
  • interconnection services in Mexico;
  • the sale of advertising slots on television and other audiovisual media market and the commercialisation of content for non-free-to-air television services;
  • the supply of non-free-to-air television and audio service, fixed-line telephone service and broadband internet access services; and
  • the marketing of transmission rights for coverage of professional baseball in Mexico.

Of the four cases resolved in 2011 concerning relative monopolistic practices, only two resulted in findings against the economic agents under investigation. The rest of the cases were closed due to lack of evidence.

In the first case, the commission imposed a fine of nearly Ps183 million on Telmex, the leading economic operator in fixed-line call services in Mexico. In the second case, the commission found that Telcel, Telmex's mobile services provider, had abused its substantial market power in the market for mobile termination and interconnection services, and imposed a fine of almost Ps12 billion.

Declarations of dominance

Mexican competition law gives the commission discretion to determine whether substantial market power exists in a certain market. Within the telecommunications sector, the Federal Telecommunications Law allows the commission to determine substantial market power in the case the public telecommunications network concessionaires. If the commission finds evidence of a lack of economic competition, this determination empowers the secretary of communications and transport to implement specific measures to regulate the market.

In November 2011 the commission issued a definitive declaration of dominance regarding mobile phone call services. It found that each mobile phone operator had the capacity unilaterally to restrict the choice of call termination within its own networks. The economic agents in question are expected to bring a motion for reconsideration against the commission's resolution.

Cases before the Supreme Court of Justice

On August 2011 the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Law on Promotion of Reading and Books 2008. The law requires that books be sold at a set price within the Mexican territory - a measure intended to encourage reading. The court found that a consistent price for books is not contrary to free competition and helps to protect cultural human rights.

Also in August 2011, the court ruled that economic agents have standing to file motions for reconsideration against declarations of dominance issued by the commission. The case in which this ruling was issued relates to a declaration of dominance by the commission in 2009, whereby it determined that Telmex had substantial market power in different markets related to fixed-line phone call services.

The court is in the process of analysing a constitutional challenge to Regulation 29/2011, issued in May 2011 by the legislative assembly of the Federal District. This regulation establishes that supermarkets and convenience stores may be located only in certain areas of the city. On June 2011 the attorney general brought an action against the regulation on the grounds of unconstitutionality, arguing that, among other things, it violates the right of free economic competition enshrined in Article 28 of the Constitution.

For further information on this topic please contact Lucia Ojeda Cardenas at SAI Law & Economics by telephone (+52 55 59 85 6618 ), fax (+52 55 59 85 6628) or email ([email protected]).


(1) These and other resolutions are available, in Spanish, at