Short Reads

ACM fines Dutch rail operator (NS) for an alleged abuse of dominance

ACM fines Dutch rail operator (NS) for an alleged abuse of dominance

03.07.2017 NL law

On 29 June 2017, the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) published the non-confidential version of a decision imposing a fine of EUR 40.95 million on Dutch railway operator NS for an alleged abuse of dominance. The ACM closed its investigation into NS' former CEO and CFO, finding insufficient grounds to hold them personally liable for the alleged infringements (decision I, decision II).

The ACM found that NS abused its dominant position on the 'main railway network' in the Netherlands by committing two separate infringements in relation to a public transportation tender in Limburg in 2014. The winning bidder gained the right to provide all bus and train transportation services in Limburg for a period of 15 years.

The first infringement concerns a predatory pricing allegation. According to the ACM, NS' subsidiary Abellio submitted a "lossmaking bid" in the Limburg tender procedure. The ACM concluded that NS' expected costs (including the cost of capital) would exceed its expected revenue. As a result, the ACM found that its competitors "could not match or surpass NS’ bid without suffering losses themselves".

The second alleged infringement concerns a combination of various forms of conduct. The ACM found that NS (i) received confidential information from a former director of one of its competitors, (ii) delayed its response and provided incomplete information to its competitors when requesting access to NS' facilities in Limburg (e.g. at train stations), and (iii) passed on confidential information it received from competitors to its own subsidiary Abellio. The ACM concluded that these various forms of conduct, taken together, constituted an abuse.

According to the ACM, both infringements were aimed at preventing NS' competitors from "proving themselves in Limburg". According to the ACM, if a competitor had won the tender, this may have led to further decentralization of the main railway network, in which NS holds a dominant position.

NS – and its shareholder the Dutch Ministry of Finance – announced that it will appeal the decision.

This article was published in the Competition Law Newsletter of July 2017. Other articles in this newsletter:

  1. Google gets a record EUR 2.42 billion antitrust fine for its shopping service
  2. Recent European Commission merger decisions signal an increased focus on innovation
  3. New Belgian Act on damage claims for competition law infringements

Team

Related news

02.01.2018 EU law
Court of The Hague confirms that the ACM can copy mobile phones during an inspection

Short Reads - On 22 November 2017, the District Court of The Hague dismissed a legal challenge that was brought against the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) in preliminary relief proceedings. In the course of an inspection, the ACM had made a copy of (virtually) all data on the business mobile phones of six employees who worked for the company subject to the inspection. The Court ruled that the ACM was permitted to do so.

Read more

02.01.2018 EU law
Court of Justice: Suppliers of luxury goods may prohibit their authorised distributors from selling on third party internet platforms

Short Reads - On 6 December 2017, the Court of Justice rendered its much anticipated judgment in a dispute between a supplier of luxury cosmetics (Coty) and one of its authorised resellers. The central question was whether Coty is allowed under the competition rules to forbid its resellers to sell Coty products over third party internet platforms with visible logos (like eBay or Amazon).

Read more

19.12.2017 EU law
L’arrêté wallon portant conditions sectorielles des parcs d'éoliennes a été annulé par le Conseil d’Etat!

Articles - Trois ans et demi après avoir fait l’objet d’un recours en annulation et après un détour préjudiciel à la Cour de Justice de l’Union européenne, le Conseil d’Etat a finalement annulé l’arrêté wallon fixant les conditions sectorielles s’appliquant aux parcs éoliens. Cette décision ne créera cependant pas le séisme annoncé. Le Conseil d’Etat a, en effet, décidé de maintenir définitivement les effets de l'arrêté tant pour le passé que pendant les trois prochaines années.

Read more

02.01.2018 EU law
Court of Justice dismisses appeal by Telefónica on non-compete clause in telecoms transaction

Short Reads - On 13 December 2017, the Court of Justice dismissed the appeal brought by Telefónica against a judgment of the General Court (GC) regarding a non-compete agreement [see our July 2016 Newsletter]. The judgment confirms the finding of the GC that the non-compete clause agreed upon between Telefónica and Portugal Telecom (PT) amounted to a market sharing agreement with the object of restricting competition.

Read more

07.12.2017 BE law
Décision Inédite de la Cour de justice de l’Union européenne en matière de protection de l’environnement : menace de sanctions financières pour la Pologne.

Articles - Dans son ordonnance du 20 novembre 2017, la Cour de Justice de l’Union européenne a ordonné, sous astreinte, à la Pologne de cesser immédiatement les opérations de gestion forestière active dans la forêt de Białowieża. Cette ordonnance sort de l’ordinaire parce qu’elle contient des mesures provisoires mais également parce qu’elle est assortie de sanctions financières. Ces deux aspects sont pourtant des gages de l’efficacité du contrôle de la Cour devant laquelle la procédure au fond. L’impact de cette ordonnance va donc bien au-delà du seul cas de la forêt de Białowieża en Pologne.  

Read more

Our website uses cookies: third party analytics cookies to best adapt our website to your needs & cookies to enable social media functionalities. For more information on the use of cookies, please check our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Please note that you can change your cookie opt-ins at any time via your browser settings.

Privacy and Cookie Policy