EU Competition

EU – Phase I merger notifications published in the Official Journal

Click here to view table

Italian gas market:

Commission welcomes ENI’s structural remedies The European Commission (“Commission”) is to review structural remedies offered by the Italian energy company ENI. The remedies are in response to concerns expressed by the Commission that the management and operation of natural gas transmission pipelines by ENI could breach Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. ENI is proposing to divest its shares in three international transport pipelines: the TAG, the TENP and the Transitgas pipelines. The Commission intends to market test ENI’s proposal with a view to adopting a binding commitments decision under Article 9 of Regulation 1/2003. Click here for more information.

UK Competition

OFT opens consultation on decision in the CAMRA super-complaint

The Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) has opened a consultation on its response to the supercomplaint regarding beer tie arrangements submitted by the Campaign for Real Ale (“CAMRA”). On 22 October 2009, the OFT concluded that it had found no evidence that beer supply ties were resulting in competition problems that were having an adverse impact on consumers. CAMRA decided to appeal the OFT’s decision at the Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”). As a result of the appeal, the OFT has decided it will allow CAMRA and any other interested parties the opportunity to make representations about the findings it reached in its response to the super-complaint. As a consequence of the OFT’s decision to open the consultation, the OFT and CAMRA have agreed to stay proceedings. The CAT has made an order on 4 February 2010 to stay proceedings until 1 August 2010. Click here for more information.

BIS consults on body to monitor and enforce compliance with GSCOP

On 5 February 2010, the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (“BIS”) issued a consultation on the establishment of a body to monitor and enforce compliance with the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (“GSCOP”). BIS is seeking views on the activities of the monitoring and enforcement body, whether it should be a new independent body or an existing one such as the OFT, whether the body should have the power to impose penalties, the scope of the complaints considered by it, and how the body should be funded. Click here for more information.

State Aid

The Netherlands: Commission temporarily approves recapitalisation package

The Commission has temporarily approved under EU state aid rules a recapitalisation package of €6.9 billion in favour of ABN AMRO and Fortis Bank Nederland (“FBN”). The additional recapitalisation package is necessary to finance the separation of ABN Amro from its parent company and the integration costs resulting from the merger between FBN and ABN Amro. At the same time, the Commission has extended the scope of its in-depth investigation, opened in April 2009, into an aid package related to the purchase of FBN by the Dutch state, to include these additional measures. Click here for more information.