We would like to place strictly necessary cookies and performance cookies on your computer to improve our website service.
To find out more about how we use cookies and how you can change your cookies settings, please read our  cookies statement.                
Otherwise, we'll assume you are OK to continue.   Please close this message

Focus Antitrust - 21 May 2014

In the News

European Commission sends Statement of Objections to Crédit Agricole, HSBC and JPMorgan as part of euro interest rate derivatives cartel case

The Commission has informed Crédit Agricole, HSBC and JPMorgan of its preliminary view that they may have breached Article 101 by colluding to influence the pricing of interest rate derivatives denominated in the euro currency.

In December 2013, the Commission settled its investigation with four other banks active in the same sector, imposing fines totalling € 1.04 billion.

High Court rules that fines cannot be recovered by companies that do not appeal

The High Court has dismissed actions brought by three companies who sought to recover fines payable following the Office of Fair Trading's construction bid-rigging decision.

The companies had not appealed against the OFT's decision themselves. However, given that other addressees of the decision had been successful in their appeals, they claimed that the penalties imposed by the OFT were unlawful.

The High Court ruled that the only method of challenge available to the claimants was an appeal against the OFT’s decision under the Competition Act 1998 and they could not rely on other parties' successful appeals. As a result, the claimants could not challenge their fines by bringing a common law claim for restitution. 


Articles 101 and 102
  • The ECJ has dismissed an appeal by 1. garantovaná a.s. against the judgment of the General Court which upheld the European Commission’s decision in relation to the calcium and magnesium reagents cartel. The ECJ confirmed that the Commission was entitled to use turnover from a year other than the business year preceding its decision when establishing the 10% ceiling for fines.
  • The General Court has dismissed an appeal by Reagens against the European Commission's decision on the heat stabilisers cartel. The General Court found that the Commission had not breached the 2006 Fining Guidelines or infringed the principle of equal treatment in the calculation of fines.
  • The General Court has reduced the fine imposed on Donau Chemie in relation to the calcium and magnesium reagents cartel from EUR5 million to EUR4.35 million. The General Court found that the Commission had wrongly applied the Leniency Notice by failing to give a sufficient reduction in fine for the evidence provided by Donau Chemie. 


Competition and Markets Authority
  • The CMA has provisionally confirmed an earlier decision by the Competition Commission in relation to the Eurotunnel/SeaFrance merger that Eurotunnel should be prohibited from operating a ferry service from Dover. This is on the basis that there has not been a material change of circumstances since the original decision. The original decision was appealed to the Competition Appeal Tribunal and the issue of whether the merger qualified for investigation was remitted to the Commission for reconsideration. In March the Commission provisionally ruled that it did have jurisdiction to make the decision. 
  • Following the Office of Fair Trading’s call for information into higher education in England, the CMA has adopted its recommendation to work with stakeholders to inform the design of a regulatory regime aimed at maximising the potential benefits of choice and competition. The CMA has now started to engage with the relevant stakeholders in the sector and expects to conclude the work by early 2015.

This article was written by Paul Stone.  

For more information please contact Paul on +44 (0)20 7203 5110 or paul.stone@crsblaw.com.