On 21 November 2012, the Germany competition regulator (the Federal Cartel Office (FCO)) took action against the parties to a chemical wholesaling joint venture. The JV was active on the same markets as its parents and together the parties had a combined 70 per cent market share in certain areas. The FCO found that the parents had used the JV to exchange information between themselves. The parents were ordered to dissolve the JV and bring their behaviour into line with competition law.
The case provides a reminder that parent companies in a joint venture must be careful not to use it to co-ordinate their own behaviour or to exchange confidential information between themselves. Even if a joint venture is legally operating, the parents are independent companies and must behave as such.