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Alcoa/ Reynolds

Premium - 01 October 1999

Following the announcement of the Alcan/Pechiney/Alusuisse merger, the world’s largest aluminium company Alcoa announced a surprise US$5.6 billion bid for the world’s third largest, Reynolds Metals.

Romania: New law on state aids adopted

Premium - 01 October 1999

This law is an important step towards harmonisation for a potential Member State, especially considering both the volume and trend of state aids granted in the EU.

Spain: Conditions imposed in bank merger signal Government’s tougher stance

Premium - 01 October 1999

This landmark decision has been eagerly awaited, as it is the first decision adopted by the Government regarding the merger of financial institutions. The decision is a clear indicator of the Government’s policy on financial institutions’ stakes in competing companies in ‘strategic’ sectors of the economy. Other financial institutions planning a merger will have to take into account this important precedent. However, this decision is likely to have more widespread effects as the Government is considering adopting legislative measures to ensure that all financial institutions (ie not only those affected by the merger) meet the requirements set out by the Government in this decision.

Taking BA/ AA on board in Atlanta

Premium - 01 October 1999

Over 400 lawyers attended the American Bar Association Antitrust Section’s meeting at the ABA Annual conference in Atlanta in August. One of the highlights of a packed agenda was a session hosted jointly by the International Antitrust & Foreign Competition Law and Transportation Industry committees on the divisive topic of airline alliances. Callum Campbell reports

Building a new competiton law that works

Premium - 01 October 1999

Donald I Baker of Baker & Miller PLLC, Washington DC, rehearses the pitfalls and opportunities that await countries creating competition laws and enforcement agencies for the first time, and offers some practical advice of his own

Italian authority rules against Coca-Cola

Premium - 01 October 1999

Coca-Cola Co’s antitrust troubles continue. Italian regulators - in a preliminary ruling - have found that Coke violated antitrust laws by abusing a dominant market position, a decision that leaves Coke liable to fines of some US$80 million, or 10 per cent of its annual turnover in Italy, if it is confirmed in a final ruling in December.

Belgium: Competition law reform - update

Premium - 01 October 1999

The raising of the notification thresholds is a very welcome measure, even though there is a feeling that they are still too low to relieve business of unnecessary administrative burdens. On the other hand, the possible introduction of a simplified notification form for transactions where no 25 per cent market shares will be held will most certainly be much appreciated by business and practitioners.

South Africa: New Competition Act in force

Premium - 01 October 1999

Among other things, the new Act introduces the concepts of 'intermediate' and 'large' mergers, which are defined by thresholds.

Italy: Autorita Garante extends scope of merger control

Premium - 01 October 1999

The approval of Parmalat/Cirio took almost six months instead of the normal maximum 75 days provided by the law. The proceedings entailed lengthy and difficult negotiations between the parties and resulted in dramatic changes from the original structure of the transaction. In the other case, Nutricia risks a fine of up to 1 per cent of the Italian turnover of the group in 1994 for having failed to comply with merger filing requirements at that time. These two recent cases show that antitrust issues are playing an increasingly important role in M&A deals in Italy and that it is now clearly necessary to consider formal and substantive competition issues while structuring an M&A transaction in Italy in order to avoid being faced with unexpected regulatory intervention.

Urho Ilmonen, Nokia Mobile Phones

Premium - 01 October 1999

Title: Vice President Legal Affairs, Group Legal Counsel