CARTELS

ECJ rules General Court should reconsider Mindo case in Italian raw tobacco cartel. On 11 April 2013, the General Court upheld an appeal by Mindo Srl (Mindo) against a judgment by the General Court. In October 2011, the General Court ruled that there was no need for it to adjudicate on an appeal by Mindo against the Commission Decision in the Italian raw tobacco cartel (Case T-19/06). The Commission imposed a fine on Mindo (as legal successor of Dimon Italia) jointly and severally with Alliance One International (Alliance) in October 2005 (COMP/38281), later paid in full by Alliance. Mindo lodged an appeal with the General Court to seek a partial annulment of the Commission Decision and, or in the alternative, a reduction in fine. The General Court ruled that Mindo (by then in liquidation) had failed to demonstrate its legal interest in bringing the proceedings, and that there was therefore no need to adjudicate on the action. The ECJ set aside the judgment, and has referred the case back to the General Court (Case C-652/11PMindo Srl v Commission, judgment of 11 April 2013).

Commission accepts commitments concerning the Czech electricity market. The Commission has accepted commitments offered by CEZ, the Czech electricity incumbent, to address competition concerns. Further to an in-depth investigation opened in June 2011, the Commission formed the preliminary view that CEZ may have reserved capacity in the transmission network in order to prevent competitors from entering the market contrary to Article 102 TFEU (COMP/39727). To address the concerns, CEZ offered to divest a significant amount of generation capacity which, following market testing, have been accepted by the Commission (IP/13/320).

ANTITRUST PROCEDURE

Nexans appeal General Court judgment on dawn raid decision. On 6 April 2013, details were published of an appeal by Nexans France SAS and Nexans SA (Nexans) against a General Court judgment that partially upheld Commission decision relating to unannounced inspections in the electrical cables sector (seeVolume 1 Edition 5. According to Nexans, the General Court erred in dismissing their application for the annulment of the dawn raid decision insofar as it was insufficiently precise, overly broad in its geographic scope, and applied to any suspected agreements and/or concerted practices that “probably had a global reach” (Case C-37/13 P, Nexans France SAS and Nexans SA v European Commission).

EU MERGERS

Phase I Clearance

  • M.6815ERDF / CDC / UEM / EFluid (09.04.2013) (simplified review).
  • M.6722FrieslandCampina / Zijerveld&Veldhuyzen & Den Hollander (12.04.2013) (subject to conditions) (IP/13/319).

UK MERGERS

Competition Commission approves Rank / Gala merger. On 11 April 2013, the Competition Commission (CC) announced its approval of the proposed acquisition by The Rank Group Plc of Gala Casinos Limited (seeVolume 1, Issue 16 (CC Press Release).

PUBLICATIONS

Competition Commission publishes guidelines for market investigations. On 5 April 2013, the CC published the final version of its guidelines setting out the procedural framework for conducting market investigations (CC3 Revised).

Competition Commission publishes revised guidance on disclosure in merger inquiries and market investigations. On 5 April 2013, the CC published the final version of revised guidance on disclosure of information in merger inquiries and market investigations, and reviews of undertakings and orders (CC7 Revised).

EU SANCTIONS

Syria

Council Regulation (EU) No 325/2013 (OJ L 102/1, 11.04.2013) amending Council Regulation (EU) No 36/2012 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Syria. The Council Regulation introduces additional derogations in relation to the sale, supply, transfer or export of equipment which might be used for internal repression and to the provision of technical assistance.