Antitrust

Commission rejects complaint alleging an Article 102 infringement by the Czech electricity incumbent, Sokolovská. The European Commission has published a non-confidential copy of a decision letter rejecting a complaint by Sokolovská uhelná, právní nástupce, a.s. (SU) alleging infringements of Article 102 by the Czech electricity incumbent ČEZ, a.s. (Case COMP/39958). SU’s complaint alleged that CEZ has been abusing its dominant position by applying discriminatory prices, imposing unfair trading conditions, and imposing unfairly low prices on SU. SU had made parallel complaints to the Czech competition authority (UOHS).

Cartels

Appeal by SKW Stahl-Metallurgie against General Court judgment on calcium and magnesium reagents cartel. On 26 May 2014, details were published in the Official Journal (Case C-154/14 P) of an appeal by SKW Stahl-Metallurgie Holding AG and SKW Stahl-Metallurgie GmbH against a General Court judgment that dismissed their action to challenge the Commission’s decision on the calcium and magnesium reagents cartel (IP/09/1169). The appellants claim that the General Court erred in law in relation to the assessment of an economic unit for the purposes of attributing liability. It also failed to recognise that the Commission had breached the appellants’ right to a fair hearing, breached legal principles, and erred in ruling that certain arguments were inadmissible.

EU Mergers

Phase I Clearances

M.7204 – Rothesay Life / MetLife Assurance (26.05.2014)

M.7093 – DLG / Lantmännen / Hage Polska (26.05.2014)

State Aid

Commission approves two public service compensation measures for the French post office. On 26 May 2014, the Commission announced its decision under the state aid rules to approve two public service compensation measures for French post office, La Poste (IP/14/602). The Commission concluded that tax relief to support La Poste in maintaining the high density of the postal services network and a grant to fund its task of transporting and delivering the press will not over-compensate La Poste in performing these tasks (in line with the Competition Policy Brief (May 2014)). Therefore, the State support is in line with the rules for State aid for services of general economic interest.

UK Antitrust

Dow settles UK lawsuit with tyre-makers over rubber-cartel damages. Dow Chemical has reached a settlement with three tyre-makers to end a UK lawsuit that sought damages stemming from a synthetic rubber cartel.

UK Mergers

CMA directs appointment of monitoring trustee under Noble Egg initial enforcement order. On 28 May 2014, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published directions to appoint a monitoring trustee under an initial enforcement order under section 72 of the Enterprise Act 2002 addressed to Noble Egg Innovations Unlimited and its parent company Walrus (Guernsey) Limited. This relates to the completed acquisition by Noble Egg Innovations Unlimited of certain assets and business information of Manton and Manton 2 Limited.

Speeches & Publications

Speech by David Currie on “The case for the British model of independent regulation 30 years on”, Cass Business School, London, 21 May 2014. Speech

Commission announces European energy security strategy. Commission announcement

BEREC opinion on Phase II investigation into Estonian proposals for regulating fixed call termination.

BEREC opinion