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Focus Antitrust - 22 January 2014

In the News

CC announces provisional decision on remedies in private healthcare market

The CC has announced its provisional decision on remedies in the private healthcare market investigation, in order to address the adverse effects on competition provisionally identified.

The provisional remedies include both divestment and behavioural remedies: the CC is proposing the divestment of nine hospitals and also a remedy which would require transactions between NHS Trusts and private hospital operators to operate private patient units to be reviewed by the OFT/CMA on the basis of a competition test.

Further, it is proposing to restrict certain clinician incentives, to require collection and publication of information on performance, and to require consultants to make fee information available in a standard form. 

European Commission rejects Ryanair’s complaint against Dublin Airport Authority and Aer Lingus

The European Commission has published its decision rejecting Ryanair’s complaint against the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) and Aer Lingus Group Plc. Ryanair claimed that DAA and Aer Lingus had colluded to develop policies that rewarded Aer Lingus for moving to a new terminal at the airport, in breach of Article 101 TFEU. 

Further, Ryanair claimed that DAA’s charges represented excessive pricing, discrimination and bundling, in breach of Article 102 TFEU. The Commission has decided that there are insufficient grounds for conducting a further investigation into the alleged infringements and a small likelihood of establishing a breach of either Article 101 or Article 102 TFEU. In addition, the Commission believes that the Irish Competition Authority or national courts are well-placed to handle this matter. 


Articles 101 and 102

The General Court has rejected as inadmissible an appeal by 1.garantovana (1G) against the European Commission's decision to impose interest on 1G’s payment of the fine imposed on it for participation in the calcium carbide cartel. The General Court had granted interim measures suspending the obligation on 1G to pay the fine or to provide a bank guarantee pending the outcome of its appeal against the Commission's cartel decision.

The appeal was dismissed in December 2012, following which the Commission demanded payment of the fine and imposing interest of 4.5% for the period during which the fine had been suspended. 1G sought annulment of the Commission's letter, however the General Court has ruled that the Commission's letter did not contain any decision that may be the subject of an action for annulment as it did not produce legal effects that changed 1G's legal position. 


Competition Commission
  • Following its final report on the market investigation into the supply of statutory audit services to large companies in the UK, the CC has published a revised administrative timetable for remedy implementation, in order to ensure consistency with the draft Audit Regulation and Directive on EU audit market reform and to allow it to consider fully the implications of the EU proposals on its own Orders. 


  • The Labour Party has announced that if elected in 2015, a Labour Government would make further reforms to the UK competition regime by introducing an "Annual Competition Health Check" which will aim to identify broken markets and priorities for action. 
  • Monitor will review the proposed merger of the pathology services of Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust. Whilst the OFT has jurisdiction to investigate mergers between NHS foundation trusts and other businesses, Monitor is responsible for reviewing mergers between two or more NHS trusts.