Competition (Finland): Finnish Supreme Court prohibits the enforcement of the EUR 70 million fine imposed on Valio

On 19 August 2014, the Finnish Supreme Court has prohibited the enforcement of the EUR 70 million fine imposed on Valio Oy (“Valio”). On 26 June 2014, the Finnish Market Court imposed the fine on Valio for having abused its dominant position by engaging in predatory pricing in the market for production and wholesale of fresh milk. According to the Supreme Court, the prohibition is in force until the Supreme Administrative Court has handed down its judgment on Valio’s appeal against the Market Court’s decision or until the Supreme Court orders otherwise. Source: Edilex News 19/08/2014

Competition: European Ombudsman rules on the Commission’s refusal of access to file for a potential damages claimant in the elevators and escalators cartel case

On 22 July 2014, the European Ombudsman handed down its decision on the Commission’s refusal to grant access for a potential damages claimant to the file in the Commission’s infringement decision of 2007 where the Commission imposed fines totaling EUR 990 million on five manufacturers of elevators and escalators for their involvement in a cartel from 1995 to 2004 in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The complainant requested access to the file for the purposes of using certain documents in the file for the purposes of pursuing a claim for damages against the companies involved in the cartel. The Commission rejected the application, stating that such disclosure would undermine the purpose of its investigations, which required it to follow specific and restrictive rules on access in line with the provisions of Regulation 1/2003. Moreover, the Commission considered that the complainant's interest in obtaining compensation for the damage suffered as a result of an infringement of EU competition rules by members of a cartel must be considered a private and not a public interest. The Ombudsman found that the Commission's refusal was in line with the applicable case-law and that no instance of maladministration had occurred. The ombudsman is responsible for holding EU bodies to account, and can make non-binding recommendations after investigating complaints. Source: Decision of the European Ombudsman 22/07/2014

In addition, kindly note the following merger control decisions by the Commission which are published on the website of the Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition:

  • Commission clears acquisition of GHD by Nordic Capital
  • Commission clears acquisition of Rolls Royce Power Systems by Rolls Royce