EU ANTITRUST

Visa Europe submits commitments proposal to Commission in inter-bank fee proceedings. On 14 May 2013, the Commission announced that Visa Europe had proposed commitments to reduce its inter-bank fees for credit card payments further to a Statement of Objections sent by the Commission in July 2012 (IP/12/871). The Commission will carry out a market test before deciding whether to make the commitments legally binding (MEMO/13/431) (COMP/39398).

Commission announces dawn raids in the oil and biofuels sectors. On 14 May 2013, the Commission announced that, earlier that day, it had conducted unannounced inspections at the premises of several companies active in, and providing services to, the crude oil, refined oil products and biofuels sectors (MEMO/13/435).

Commission confirms April 2013 dawn raids in the sugar sector. The Commission has confirmed that unannounced inspections were conducted at the premises of companies active in the sugar industry in several Member States on 23 April 2013 (MEMO/13/443).

FRANCE ANTITRUST

Autorité de la Concurrence fines Sanofi-Aventis for blocking generic drugs. On 14 May 2013, the French competition authority (Autorité de la Concurrence) imposed fines of €40.6 million on Sanofi-Aventis for the implementation of a “denigration strategy” intended to delay generic versions of Plavix contrary to Article 102 TFEU and Article L.420-2 of the Commercial Code (Press Release).

UK ANTITRUST

OFT opens new Competition Act investigation into supply of pharmaceutical products. The Office of Fair Trading has confirmed that a formal investigation into the supply of (as yet unnamed) pharmaceutical products was initiated in May 2013. The investigation is under both Chapter I and Chapter II of the Competition Act 1998 and Articles 101 and 102 of the TFEU (CE/9742-13).

EU MERGERS

Commission approves Norsk Hydro / Orkla joint venture subject to conditions. On 13 May 2013, the Commission cleared the creation of a joint venture between Orkla ASA (Orkla) and Norsk Hydro ASA (Hydro) (M.6756). The joint venture will own and operate the respective soft alloy extrusion businesses of Orkla and Hydro. The clearance is conditional on the divestment of Orkla’s multiport extrusions business in the Netherlands and Hydro’s largest soft-alloy extrusions plant in Norway. The competition concerns were based on the apparently large combined market shares of the joint venture, the absence of fully substitutable replacement products and the presence of only two other alternative suppliers in the EEA (IP/13/426).

Phase I Clearance

  • M.6913DP World Limited / Goodman Group / DP World Asia Limited (14.05.2013) (simplified procedure).
  • M.6889 Sogécap / Cardif Assurance / Ensemble Immobilier Clichy-la-Garenne (13.05.2013).
  • M.6884 Access (Warner Music Group Corp) / Parlophone Label Group (14.05.2013) (IP/13/439).
  • M.6482Goldman Sachs and TPG Lundy / Verna Group (14.05.2013).
  • M.6891 Agrofert Holding a.s. / Lieken AG (15.05.2013).

OTHER JURISDICTIONS

EU and Switzerland sign Cooperation Agreement. On 17 May 2013, the European Union and Swiss Confederation announced a cooperation agreement between their respective competition authorities. The agreement makes provision for the European Commission and the Swiss Competition Commission to exchange information obtained in their respective investigations. The agreement will enter into force once it has been approved by the European Parliament and the Swiss Parliament (IP/13/444).

EU SANCTIONS

Afghanistan

Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 451/2013 OJ L 133/1, 17.5.2013) amending Council Regulation (EU) No 753/2011 concerning restrictive measures directed against certain individuals, groups, undertakings and entities in view of the situation in Afghanistan. The Implementing Regulation amends Annex I listing additional designated persons/entities.

Al-Qaida

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 439/2013 OJ L 129/34, 14.5.2013) amending Annex I to Council Regulation (EC) No 881/2002 imposing certain specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities associated with the Al-Qaida network. The Implementing Regulation removes one designated person from Annex I.

SPEECHES / PUBLICATIONS

Speech by the Vice President of DG COMP, Joaquín Almunia. “Consumer-goods markets: A litmus test for competition policy” (SPEECH/13/410).

Commission Report on Competition Policy 2012 (COM(2013) 257 final) and accompanying Staff Working Document (SWD(2013) 159 final).

European Competition Network – May 2013 Report (ECN Brief 02/2013).