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Focus Antitrust - 23 July 2014

In the News

Competition and Markets Authority publishes market studies on SME banking and personal current accounts

The CMA has published its markets studies on SME banking and personal current accounts. The SME banking market study is the conclusion of a joint project between the CMA and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and represents the first formal collaboration between the organisations.

The FCA also provided input into the CMA’s study of the personal current account (PCA) sector. The market studies identify a number of common concerns that competition is not effectively serving the interests of SMEs or PCA customers.

In particular, the studies have identified barriers to entry and expansion for newer and smaller banks and that levels of shopping around and switching between banks remain low. The CMA is therefore now consulting on its provisional decision to refer both markets for a combined in-depth market investigation.

 

EU

Articles 101 and 102

The Advocate General's opinion has been handed down in the appeals by Versalis, Eni and the European Commission in the chloroprene rubber cartel case. The Advocate General considers that the General Court's judgment was correct to conclude that the Commission's decision on recidivism by Eni was insufficiently reasoned and breached Eni's rights of defence.

The ECJ has set aside the General Court’s judgments in the Greek lignite appeals. The General Court had annulled the Commission's original decision that Greece infringed Article 106(1), in conjunction with Article 102, by maintaining the quasi-exclusive rights for access to lignite granted to the state-owned electricity company DEI - and had annulled the commitments accepted by Greece. 

The ECJ found that the General Court had erred in holding that the Commission was required to identify and establish the conduct constituting an abuse of a dominant position to which the State measure in question had or could have led.

 

UK

CMA
  • The CMA has announced that it has opened a new investigation into a suspected breach of competition law related to the healthcare sector, under Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998.
  • The CMA is consulting on undertakings in lieu of referring the acquisition by Diageo of United Spirits for a Phase 2 reference under the Enterprise Act 2002. The undertakings involve the divestment by Diageo of the White & Mackay's bottled blended Scotch whisky business to an upfront buyer.

This article was written by Paul Stone.  

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