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Focus Antitrust - 28 May 2014

In the News

Ofwat consults on its intention to accept binding commitments from Bristol Water in abuse of dominance case

In March 2013, in response to two separate complaints, Ofwat launched a formal investigation into the price and non-price terms Bristol Water applied when providing services to self-lay organisations. These related to the services provided by Bristol Water to enable the provision of new water infrastructure for new development sites, either by itself or by self-lay organisations.

The complainants alleged that Bristol Water had used its dominant position to harm competition in the contestable market of providing new water infrastructure for new developments, making it difficult for self-lay organisations to operate in Bristol Water’s area.

Bristol Water has now offered (in the form of draft commitments) to make changes to its structure and processes in response to Ofwat’s investigation in this case. This includes separation of Bristol Water’s downstream developer services functions, which compete with third party self-lay organisations, from its non-contestable upstream services.


Articles 101 and 102
  • The ECJ has dismissed appeals against the General Court’s judgment upholding the European Commission’s industrial bags cartel decision. The ECJ found that the General Court had not erred in its appraisal of the evidence or in reviewing the fines imposed.
  • The General Court has dismissed Toshiba’s appeal against the European Commission’s power transformers cartel decision. In particular, it rejected Toshiba's claim that statements from Siemens and Fuji should be given lesser weight, because they had been made in the context of applying for leniency, and confirmed that each item of evidence did not have to establish the infringement by itself. 


Competition and Markets Authority
  • The CMA has launched a short consultation on changes to the commitments originally proposed by Certas Energy UK Ltd to improve competition in the supply of petrol and diesel to filling stations in the Western Isles of Scotland. The CMA (and previously the OFT) has been investigating a possible infringement of the Chapter II prohibition, relating in particular to the contractual arrangements between Certas and certain filling stations for the wholesale supply of road fuels. The OFT announced in March 2014 that it was consulting on commitments proposed by Certas that were designed to address its competition concerns. The CMA has engaged with Certas on the substantial number of comments received in response to the consultation and as a result the company has offered to make the following changes to the commitments: the proposed throughput arrangements for the Stornoway terminal will last five rather than two-and-a-half years (starting on 1 June 2015 and ending on 31 May 2020); and an additional commitment that ensures the costs of operating the terminal will apply equally to Certas and its competitors. 
  • The CMA has published an administrative timetable for implementing remedies following its final report on the private healthcare market investigation. 

This article was written by Paul Stone.  

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