The following has been reported in the newspapers referred to below:

  • On October 10, Dutch-based electronics group Philips lowered its stake in LG Philips LCD by 13% to 19.9%, resulting in net proceeds of €1.55bn. LG Philips LCD constitutes a joint venture between Philips and Korean electronics company LG Electronics and manufactures active matrix liquid crystal displays (LCDs) (FT, October 11, 2007, p. 17; WSJE, October 11, 2007, p. 21) 
  • Italian-based maker of specialist steel pipes for oil and gas exploration Tenaris has pledged that it will remain independent, rejecting any possible sale to the world’s largest, Luxembourg-based, steel producer ArcelorMittal (FT, October 11, 2007, p. 14) 
  • Russian-based real estate and building materials group LSR group is reportedly planning to raise up to US$1.5bn from a dual listing in London and Moscow (FT, October 11, 2007, p. 19) 
  • The following concentration has been cleared by the European Commission:
    • Groupama/Nuova Tirrena (life and non-life insurance) (OJ C 239, 11 October 2007, p. 1) 
    • AIG/Orco/Hospitality Invest (investment in real estate and in hospitality) (RAPID, October 11, 2007)

State Aid

  • Spain — State aid C 20/07 (ex NN 31/07) — Pickman (producer of dishes and chinaware) — Invitation to submit comments pursuant to Article 88(2) of the EC Treaty (OJ C 239, 11 October 2007, p. 12) 
  • The European Commission has launched an in-depth investigation to establish whether a subsidy worth €31 million that the French authorities intend to grant to the French domestic appliances manufacturer FagorBrandt is compatible with the EC Treaty rules on state aid. The European Commission is also concerned that the subsidy may be used to finance the repayment of €22.5 million of unlawful aid FagorBrandt received in 2002 
  • The European Commission has launched an in-depth investigation to establish whether the modification of the restructuring plan of Huta Stalowa Wola (HSW), a Polish industrial machinery company, is compatible with EC Treaty state aid rules (RAPID, October 11, 2007) 
  • The European Commission has decided not to raise any objections under EU state aid rules to the financial aid granted by France to the OSIRIS research and development (R&D) program. The aid amounts to approximately €31 million (RAPID, October 11, 2007)


  • On October 10, 2007, European Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of various providers of international freight forwarding services, including customs clearance, warehousing and ground services. The European Commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated EC Treaty rules that outlaw restrictive business practices (Article 81) (RAPID, October 11, 2007) 
  • In light of commitments offered by Belgian Energy company Distrigas, which were made legally binding by a formal decision, the European Commission has closed its investigation concerning an abuse of a dominant market position (Article 82). Under the relevant commitments, Distrigas will reduce the gas volumes tied in long-term contracts. This would allow other gas suppliers to compete with Distrigas to build up a portfolio of customers, and thereby encourage competition on the Belgian gas market (RAPID, October 11, 2007) 
  • Irish-based airline Aer Lingus is to take a legal action to force Irish rival Ryanair to sell its 29.4% stake in the former Irish state-owned carrier after the European Commission indicated that it would not use its power to force a disposal (FT, October 11, 2007, p. 19) 
  • A consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland is expected to start taking control of the Dutch bank ABN Amro on October 11, 2007, when executives are nominated to join the Dutch bank’s supervisory and management board (FT, October 11, 2007, p. 13; WSJE, October 11, 2007, p. 7)