Neodyum Miknatis
maderba.com
implant
olabahis
Casino Siteleri
canli poker siteleri meritslot
escort antalya
istanbul escort
sirinevler escort
antalya eskort bayan
brazzers
Articles

ACM fined cold-storage companies and their executives EUR 12.5 million for breaching competition law during merger negotiations

ACM fined cold-storage companies and their executives EUR 12.5 million for breaching competition law during merger negotiations

ACM fined cold-storage companies and their executives EUR 12.5 million for breaching competition law during merger negotiations

04.04.2016 NL law

On 23 March 2016, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets ("ACM") released public versions of decisions adopted in 2015 in which it fined four cold-storage companies a total of EUR 12.5 million for breaching the cartel prohibition. The ACM also imposed fines on five executives, the highest of which amounted to EUR 144,000.

According to the ACM's decisions and press release, the companies engaged in merger talks between 2006 and 2009, during which they allegedly: (i) exchanged competitively sensitive information on refrigerated food storage prices and capacity utilizations rates, (ii) agreed to allocate customers and pass on price increases, and (iii) rigged bids submitted to potential customers.

In 2012, the ACM conducted dawn raids at various premises of the companies involved following information received from an informant. The companies all operated refrigerated/frozen warehousing facilities used to store goods, particularly concentrated juices and fish. The ACM's investigation concluded that during the (failed) merger negotiations, which took place over three years, the companies breached the competition rules by sharing competitively sensitive information and by committing other far-reaching "by object" infringements (e.g. sharing future capacity and highly sensitive client-specific information).

One of the undertakings, Kloosbeheer B.V., failed to receive leniency in one of the ACM decisions because the ACM considered that it could not (and did not) provide information with sufficiently "significant added value" within the meaning of the ACM leniency guidelines. Kloosbeheer, however, did receive a 10% reduction of the fine imposed for the "mitigating factor" of going well beyond its legal obligation to cooperate with the investigation. Interestingly, in another decision concerning Kloosbeheer, it was granted the benefit of a "simplified procedure" – usually reserved for settlement decisions – by agreeing to the ACM's description (and legal qualification) of the facts, the fines imposed, and liability of its directors. In this case, the ACM has taken a novel approach by adopting different types of decisions aimed at a specific undertaking in a single cartel investigation.

This case also highlights the importance of ensuring adequate safeguards are defined and put in place before engaging in merger negotiations (e.g. setting up "clean teams" during pre-merger due diligence). Any exchange of commercially sensitive information – regardless of the context in which it takes place – remains liable to violate competition law.

This article was published in the Competition Law Newsletter of April 2016. Other articles in this newsletter:

1. Court of Justice annulled Commission's requests for information in cement cartel case
2.
Initial findings of Commission's e-commerce sector inquiry show widespread use of geo-blocking
3.
Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal confirmed that ACM can use EU-wide turnover in calculating the fines in onion cartel case
4.
New Leniency Guidelines applicable in Belgium since 22 March 2016
5.
Belgian Constitutional Court rules that actions for antitrust damages cannot be time-barred before the final infringement decision is rendered

Team

Related news

07.01.2021 NL law
(Geo)blockbuster: Canal+ ruling annuls commitment decision

Short Reads - A heads-up for companies seeking to settle in antitrust proceedings: commercially-affected third party complainants are not to be ignored. The Canal+ judgment marks the first time a commitment decision has been successfully challenged since the adoption of Regulation 1/2003. The European Court of Justice annulled the commitment decision on the ground that the Commission failed to take into account the rights of contractual parties affected by the commitments.

Read more

07.01.2021 NL law
Commission evaluates Antitrust Damages Directive: to be continued

Short Reads - On 14 December 2020, the Commission published a report on the implementation of the Antitrust Damages Directive (the Directive). The Commission observes a significant increase in antitrust damages actions since the adoption of the Directive. However, there is insufficient experience with the new Directive to properly evaluate its application. Instead, the Commission provides a concise overview of the implementation of some key aspects of the Directive.

Read more

07.01.2021 NL law
Amsterdam District Court puts a halt to unlimited forum shopping

Short Reads - On 25 November 2020, the Amsterdam District Court (the Court) declined jurisdiction over all non-Dutch defendants (the foreign defendants) in proceedings for compensation of damage based partly on an infringement of Article 101 TFEU. The proceedings were initiated by four public utility companies from the Gulf States (claimants) against both Dutch and foreign defendants.

Read more

07.01.2021 NL law
ACM study calls for regulation of Big Techs on payment market

Short Reads - The ACM’s market study, published on 1 December 2020, provides an overview of recent and upcoming developments concerning the role of Big Tech companies in both online and offline payment markets in the Netherlands. Although Big Tech companies currently have a relatively limited presence in these markets, the ACM expects significant expansion in the near future given these companies’ ability to leverage existing market power on other (platform) markets.

Read more

07.01.2021 NL law
Do the math: ACM publishes strategy on monitoring use algorithms

Short Reads - The ACM worries that the use of algorithms may lead to the creation of cartels, or nudge consumers towards a purchasing decision that is not in their best interest. Therefore, on 10 December 2020, it published a new policy document (in Dutch) setting out what businesses can expect when the ACM checks their algorithms. On the same day, the ACM also launched a trial with online music library Muziekweb to improve the ACM’s knowledge about the categories of data that are likely to be relevant in such investigations. All signs indicate the ACM’s intention to become more active in this area.

Read more