Eni’s Subsidiary in a EU Competition Procedure

October 14, 2013

Cleary Gottlieb successfully represented Versalis S.p.A., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eni S.p.A., in a procedure commenced by the Commission to readopt the BR/ESBR synthetic rubber cartel decision partially annulled by the July 13, 2011 General Court’s judgments (subsequently upheld by the European Court of Justice with decisions issued on May 8 and June 13, 2013).

On February 2013, a statement of objections, along with the decision to open proceedings, was submitted to Versalis and Eni. Versalis and Eni rebutted the charges, and appealed before the General Court. However, last September, the Commission announced the decision to close the procedure without adopting a decision.

The case generated interest because it involved a number of substantive and procedural legal issues, including the criteria for imputating the aggravating circumstance of recidivism under EU Competition law, limits to the power of the Commission to readopt an act annulled by EU courts, and the legal effects arising from the exercise by the Tribunal of its unlimited jurisdiction. The case is also notable because only in very rare circumstances does the Commission resolve to close proceedings after the submission of the statement of objections to the parties.