German Competition Law Newsletter
Below are links to German Competition Law Newsletters that Cleary publishes bi-monthly.
German Government Proposes Significant Reform Of Competition Law
- On January 24, 2020, the German Ministry for Economic Affairs published a draft proposal for the 10th Amendment to the German Act against Restraints of Competition (“Draft Proposal”). Its main objectives are (i) to enable and strengthen the protection of competition in digital markets, (ii) to make German competition law and its enforcement more efficient in general, and (iii) to implement the ECN+ Directive.
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The FCO’s Activities In 2019
On December 27, 2019, the FCO published a summary of its activities in 2019. In 2019, the FCO
- imposed fines in cartel proceedings totaling approximately €848 million in five cartel proceedings,
- examined around 1,400 notified mergers,
- conducted numerous abuse of dominance proceedings (including against Facebook and Amazon), and
- received 104 applications for review in public procurement cases.
FCO Clears Joint Venture Of Telekom And EWE For Fiber-Optic Deployment Following Commitments
- On December 30, 2019, the FCO approved the creation of a joint venture by Telekom Deutschland GmbH (“Telekom”) and EWE AG (“EWE”) for the expansion and operation of fiber-optic networks (FTTB/H) in parts of north-west Germany after an in-depth review.
Joint Study On Algorithms By German And French Competition Authorities
- On November 6, 2019, the FCO and the French Competition Authority (“ADLC”) presented a joint study on “Algorithms and Competition.” The study focuses on algorithms used for dynamic price setting and their potential effects on competition, particularly in the form of collusion, and contains important insights for companies utilizing third-party algorithms.
FCO - Cartels
- FCO Fines Steel Manufacturers For Price Fixing
On December 12, 2019, the FCO imposed fines of €646 million on steel manufacturers Ilsenburger Grobblech GmbH, thyssenkrupp Steel Europe AG, voestalpine Grobblech GmbH and three individuals for price fixing. A fourth manufacturer, Dillinger Hüttenwerke, was granted immunity from fines for cooperation under the leniency notice.
- FCO Imposes Further Cartel Fines
On December 19, 2019, the FCO imposed fines of €195,000 on four German suppliers of liquid gas for geographic market sharing between 2006 and 2016. In setting the fines, the FCO notably considered the low impact of the cartel arrangements due to the suppliers’ small market shares.
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FCO - Mergers
- FCO Blocks 3-To-2 Merger Of Cash Handling Service Providers
On December 18, 2019, the FCO prohibited cash handling service provider Loomis AB’s acquisition of its competitor Ziemann Sicherheit Holding GmbH (“Ziemann”). Loomis AB and Ziemann are the third and second-largest cash handling service providers in a number of regional markets in the west and north of Germany behind market leader Prosegur.
FCO - Policy
- FCO Finds No Market Dominance In The Electricity Generation Sector
On December 19, 2019, the FCO published its first report on market power in the electricity generation sector (“Market Power Report”). The report is intended to provide market participants with more legal clarity as to their own position in the market, thereby complementing the recently published FCO/FNA Guidelines on the control of abusive behavior in the electricity generation and wholesale trade sector.
- Monopoly Commission Publishes Sector Report On Postal Markets
On December 3, 2019, the Monopoly Commission, an advisory board of the German Government, published its eleventh sector report on postal markets. The Monopoly Commission’s findings correspond to a great extent to those of its 2017 report.
- Monopoly Commission Publishes 11th Sector Report Into Telecommunication
On December 3, 2019, the Monopoly Commission published the eleventh edition of its biennial sector report on telecommunications markets. The report observes that the state has to intervene increasingly in the telecommunications markets because investments of private telecommunication companies do not meet the political networks development targets in Germany. The Monopoly Commission advises that subsidies should be moderate and targeted to areas where development by private parties is insufficient in order to minimize crowding out of private investments.
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- Working Group On Competition Law Discussed Changes To The European Vertical Block Exemption Regulation
On October 10, 2019, the Working Group on Competition Law held its annual meeting in Bonn. The FCO and more than 120 competition law experts discussed revisions to the European Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (“VBER”) in light of the digital transformation of the economy. In preparation for this meeting, the FCO had published a comprehensive background paper, setting out the need for adaption and possible adjustments to the VBER to address online distribution and other challenges posed by the digital transformation of the economy.
Please click here to read the complete Newsletter.