Business in brief
The European Commission has sent a statement of objections to Telefónica and Portugal Telecom, incumbent telecoms operators in Spain and Portugal, concerning their agreement not to compete in the Iberian telecommunications markets. Officials on Tuesday (25 October) said that the deal might breach EU antitrust rules.
Ferry loans blocked
The Commission on Monday (24 October) said that loans to SeaFrance, a ferry company, as part of a €223 billion restructuring plan, did not comply with EU state-aid rules. The Commission said because SeaFrance is owned by SNCF, France’s state-owned railway firm, an outside investor must be involved in the restructuring.
Bank aid investigation
The Commission has opened an investigation to assess whether the proposed restructuring of Banco Português de Negócios, a Portuguese bank, is in line with EU state-aid rules, officials said on Monday.
Not so fine
In a ruling on Tuesday, the EU’s Court of Justice annulled fines totalling €23 million imposed by the Commission on Solvay, a Belgian company, for abuse of its dominant position and price-fixing in the market for soda ash, a material used in glass manufacture. The Court said that the Commission, which imposed the punishment in 2000, had failed to respect Solvay’s right of access to files.
€9.9m fine revoked
The EU’s General Court on Tuesday annulled a €9.9m fine that the Commission imposed in 2008 on Aragonesas, a Spanish firm, and its parent company Uralita for anti-competitive conduct on the market for sodium chlorate, a paper-whitening product. The Court said the Commission had produced insufficient evidence.
Market for painkillers
The Commission on Friday (21 October) opened an antitrust investigation into whether arrangements between pharmaceutical firms Johnson & Johnson and Novartis hindered the entry onto the market in the Netherlands of generic versions of Fentanyl, a painkiller.