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Competition & Antitrust

14 January 2021
Carmen Verdonck BCA suspects Caudalie of imposing minimum resale prices on distributors and limiting active and passive online sales

Belgium - ALTIUS

Following dawn raids carried out in 2018, the Belgian Competition Authority's Investigation and Prosecution Service has opened an investigation regarding alleged anti-competitive practices committed by Caudalie, a French cosmetics company specialising in vinotherapy, after a Belgian pharmacist complained that his supplier was imposing a pricing policy on him.

Authors: Carmen Verdonck, Nina Methens
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Ana Marjančić Croatian Competition Agency examines legality of exclusivity clauses in lease agreements

Croatia - Schoenherr

The Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) recently closed the infringement proceeding against Croatia's largest insurer which had been opened ex officio. The proceeding concerned the exclusivity clauses in the insurer's commercial lease agreements; the CCA's main concern was that the clauses prevented landlords from cooperating with other insurers and thus restricted potential competition in the insurance market.

Authors: Ana Marjančić, Zoran Šoljaga
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Claudia Bock Competition authority imposes fine on retailer for abuse of significant market power

Czech Republic - Schoenherr

The Office for the Protection of Competition recently announced in a press release that it had imposed a Kc32 million (approximately €1.2 million) fine on Czech retail chain HRUŠKA, spol sro for an alleged abuse of significant market power. According to the press release, the retail chain allegedly violated the Significant Market Power Act by fully transferring all business risks and losses associated with the sale of goods nearing their expiration date to dozens of its suppliers between 2016 and 2019.

Author: Claudia Bock
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Anna Turi Future Hungarian 'superbank' exempted from merger control scrutiny

Hungary - Schoenherr

The planned merger of three banks into a new Hungarian bank holding (a so-called 'superbank') was announced in Spring 2020. Normally, such a merger would require competition authority approval. However, the government has issued a decree exempting the superbank's merger from competition scrutiny. The government held that the measure was required from a public interest standpoint in order to boost the Hungarian financial sector's competitiveness.

Author: Anna Turi
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Srdjana Petronijević Competition authority opens investigation into potential RPM practice in consumer electronics market

Serbia - Moravčević Vojnović and Partners in cooperation with Schoenherr

The Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) has opened an investigation and conducted dawn raids at the premises of importers and wholesalers of consumer electronics for possible anti-competitive agreements concerning resale price maintenance. Based on a preliminary assessment, the CPC believes that importers and wholesalers imposed price restrictions on retailers.

Authors: Srdjana Petronijević, Zoran Šoljaga
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Marcel Meinhardt Parliament agrees on stricter concept of market power

Switzerland - Lenz & Staehelin

Parliament is currently debating the so-called 'fair price initiative' and an indirect counter-proposal by the government, both of which aim to tighten the Cartel Act. Among other new provisions, the concept of relative market power will be introduced to combat foreclosure of the Swiss market and price discrimination against Swiss corporate customers. Both chambers of Parliament have agreed that the concept of relative market power will apply not only to suppliers, but also to customers.

Authors: Marcel Meinhardt, Virginia Ondelli
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W Todd Miller Antitrust indictments for employer restraints against employees

USA - Baker & Miller PLLC

In December 2020 the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted an individual employer owner, for the first time, for agreeing with a competing owner to reduce the wages that their workers were being paid. Moreover, on 5 January 2021 the DOJ indicted a corporation for conspiring with two competing employers to allocate a medical employment market by agreeing not to solicit each other's senior employees. These rapid-fire developments are of critical importance to all companies.

Authors: W Todd Miller, Donald I Baker
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Switzerland - Lenz & Staehelin

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Belgium - ALTIUS

Authors: Beatrijs Gielen, Carmen Verdonck
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United Kingdom - Gowling WLG

Authors: Samuel Beighton, Bernardine Adkins
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Czech Republic - Schoenherr

Authors: Claudia Bock, Ondřej Holowka
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Slovenia - Schoenherr

Authors: Eva Škufca, Lea Avsenik