On July 30 2002 the Telecommunications Market Commission released its list of the principal operators in the national fixed and mobile telephony markets.
The status of principal operator is conferred on the holders of the five largest market shares in each relevant market. The consequences of this status are limitations on the governance of these companies and on the exercise of shareholders' voting rights. Where a stake is owned in more than one principal operator which is equal to or greater than 3% of the total share capital, voting rights in excess of this percentage may only be excercised in one of these. Further, members of the administrative bodies may not be appointed, either directly or indirectly, to the management of another principal operator.
The following companies have been designated principal operators in the fixed telephony market: Grupo Telefónica, Grupo Auna, Grupo France Telecom, Grupo Jazztel and Grupo Cableuropa. The principal operators in the mobile telephony market are Grupo Telefónica, Grupo Vodafone, Grupo Auna and Grupo Xfera.
SCH (Santander Central Hispano), a leading Spanish bank, holds stakes of 23.5% in Auna and 19.9% in Cableuropa, both principal operators in the fixed telephony market. According to the new limitations, the bank has been given one month to notify the regulator of the principal operator in which it will exercise its voting rights and other faculties.
The Telecommunications Market Commission adopted an innovative approach to determine which market players should be considered principal operators. The commission did not look solely to the operator in order to determine whether it had reached the required market share, but instead to the corporate group in which the operator is integrated as a whole.
The reasoning behind this approach is that corporate groups normally operate on the market through a number of operators, which are either subsidiaries or participated companies of the parent company, and which act as an independent economic unit with respect to consumers. Therefore their respective market shares were aggregated to calculate the true global market share which they enjoy.
For further information on this topic please contact Almudena Arpón de Mendívil, Eduardo Gómez de la Cruz or Alejandro Plaza at Gómez-Acebo & Pombo by telephone (+34 91 582 9100) or by fax (+34 91.582. 9186) or by email ([email protected] or [email protected] or [email protected] ).