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Competition & Antitrust

The District Court of Amsterdam recently found itself competent to rule on damages claims against the non-Dutch participants of a sodium chlorate cartel through anchor defendant Akzo Nobel. The arbitration and choice of forum clauses laid down in the customer contracts did not alter this. Companies should keep in mind that they cannot always rely on these clauses in cartel damages claims.

The Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal recently ruled that the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) was wrong to fine the Dutch National Association of General Practitioners (LHV) for breaking a seal affixed by ACM officials during a dawn raid. According to the tribunal, the breaking of the seal could not be attributed to LHV and it therefore quashed the fine.

According to a recent decision of the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal, the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) was wrong to find that the relevant market should be limited to each individual tender project when applying the national de minimis clause to systematic bid-rigging cartels. The tribunal also clarified that the five-year limitation period relates only to the ACM's power to impose a fine.

The Rotterdam District Court has overturned the fines imposed on Pilkington and Scheuten for their participation in a double glazing cartel. This ruling has far-reaching consequences for how the ACM should accumulate evidence based on leniency statements. The ACM should limit itself to what leniency applicants can state by their own account.

The Rotterdam District Court has upheld the way in which the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) calculated the fines imposed on a number of companies for participating in a silverskin onion cartel. The cartel participants generated 60% of their combined turnover within the European Union. For the first time, the ACM based the fines imposed on the cartel participants' EU-wide turnover instead of national turnover.

The Rotterdam District Court has upheld a Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) decision to prohibit a transaction between two rival baking companies due to a high combined market share on the Dutch rusk market. Parties thus should not count on the ACM to take earlier precedents to heart when defining relevant markets.

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