Competition/ Anti-trust

Competition/ Anti-trust

Competition/ Anti-trust constitutes one of our main areas of expertise. We advise Greek and foreign companies involved in M&A transactions (acquisitions, divestitures, establishment of joint ventures), which trigger notification obligations towards either the Greek or the EU competition authorities or in specialised cooperation agreements. Additionally, we advise businesses operating in Greece through local subsidiaries or distributors on matters of compliance with Greek and EU antitrust regulations (particularly Articles 1 and 2 of the Greek Competition Act, as well as articles 101 and 102 of the TFEU Regulation 330/2010). We also provide comprehensive antitrust law compliance seminars and dawn raid simulation support to management teams of companies active in different industries. We advise clients involved in sector specific inquiries and dawn raids conducted by the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) and represent them before HCC hearings as well as before administrative courts in the course of follow up litigation in antitrust law disputes. Our firm works closely with major European and US law firms with a strong antitrust practice, analysing the ramifications of the Greek competition law for the international transactions of their clients. Members of the competition-antitrust group combine across-the-board practical exposure with a solid theoretical background of competition law.   

Our competition law practice covers  a series of “traditional” sectors (e.g. food and non food retail markets, cash and carry, oil and gas, energy, financial services, insurance, cosmetics, educational books), but over the years  we have also expanded to such cutting-edge sectors as shipping, pharmaceuticals, automotive, media, disinfectants, waste management, recycling and brewing. 

Our firm has been involved, inter alia, in the following projects: 

A. Concentrations
B. Agreements / Concerted Practices
C. Abuse of Dominant Position
D. Miscellaneous Advice / Assessment of Compatibility with EU Law 

A. Concentrations  

  • Notification of the acquisition of Exxon Chemical Paramins division by Chevron Chemical Company and obtaining formal clearance thereof by the HCC 
  • Provision to the Bank of Scotland of an antitrust appraisal of its offer to the shareholders of National Westminster
  • Notification of the de facto merger between MD Foods and Arla, obtaining the respective clearance and advising Arla Foods amba in relation to the competition issues arising from its establishment of a joint venture with the Delta Dairy Group of Companies in Greece
  • Advising ABN AMRO BANK in relation to the antitrust ramifications of the divestiture of its Greek branch
  • Advising Cadbury on the acquisition of Pfizer’s, a Greek confectionary business from Pfizer
  • Notification of the purchase of Agfa Gevaert’s NDT business by General Electric to the HCC and contributing to the referral of the case to the European Commission under the provisions of previously applying ECMR
  • Notification of the acquisition by Roche Holding AG of the infusion business of Disetronic, effected through a public offer to the HCC
  • Advising on the negotiated acquisition of a performance chemicals business of a major European company in the petrochemicals industry by its US counterpart
  • Advising  Texaco Hellas (of the Chevron group of companies) in connection with the intricacies of the sale of a production unit under Greek Competition law
  • Drafting and filing a pre-merger notification form on behalf of the Aegean Oil group for the purchase of a number of assets as well as the lubricants blending business owned by Texaco Hellas and obtaining clearance by the HCC
  • Notification and obtaining clearance by the HCC on the acquisition of sole control over Nova Bank by Banco Commercial Portugues, S.A.
  • Advising Shell on the referral of the merger notification related to the acquisition of its Greek subsidiary Shell Hellas by Motor Oil Hellas by the European Commission to the HCC and obtaining clearance of the latter
  • Advising Carrefour Marinopoulos on the merger notification of the acquisition of DIA Hellas (a major chain of discount supermarkets) filed with the European Commission and the follow up referral of the case to the HCC
  • Representing  Urbaser SA (a multinational waste management company) for the notification of a joint venture company with Public Power Corporation (ΔΕΗ) before the EU Commission and obtained clearance
  • Advising Public Power Corporation (DEI) and TERNA (a leading Greek construction & energy projects group) in the course of their notification before the Hellenic Competition Commission of a joint venture company 
  • Notification of the acquisition of the majority shareholding of the Heracles-Halkis Cement Group by Blue Circle Industries and obtaining respective clearance thereof by the HCC.

B. Agreements / Concerted Practices    

  • Filing the notification for the strategic alliance between Caisse Nationale de Credit Agricole and the Commercial Bank of Greece that was followed by a landmark clearing decision of the HCC 
  • Contribution to the drafting of a Prospectus for the Hellenic Petroleum Group describing the antitrust compatibility of its vertical marketing activities 
  • Provision of  advice to Estee Lauder regarding the prospective establishment of a distribution joint venture in Greece
  • Notification of  a cooperative joint venture agreement between Estee Lauder Europe and Elca Cosmetics Limited to the HCC
  • Assistance to  Allied Domecq in the drafting of supply and distribution agreements for the Greek market in line with the specifications of EU and Greek Competition Law
  • Notification of  a joint venture agreement between an affiliate of Deutsche Bank and EFG Eurobank Properties, involving a landmark transaction regarding the  sale and leaseback of a real estate portfolio of assets 
  • Advising  an international tobacco company with respect to an investigation of the HCC in the cigarette sales industry
  • Representing Carrefour Marinopoulos before the HCC and the Court of Appeals with respect to a dispute with its franchisees.
  • Advising  Group 4 on proceedings before the HCC with respect to its alleged participation in a cartel 
  • Advising on the antitrust implications of a joint venture agreement between Konecranes and Rokas AE
  • Advising  Engel & Voelkers, a German real estate company, on the execution of a franchising project in Greece and the antitrust implications thereof
  • Advising Iberdrola SA, a leading renewable energy producer, with respect to the establishment of a joint venture with Motor Oil Hellas, one of the leading Greek petroleum companies and the respective merger notification  before the EU Commission
  • Filing with and obtaining clearance from DG-COMP of the European Commission for the establishment of a joint venture by one of the largest food retailers in Greece  and Credicom (a subsidiary of the Commercial Bank of Greece) selling consumer credit products 
  • Advising one of the largest food retailers in Greece in connection with its alleged involvement (on a count of resale price maintenance)  in a complex cartel case (the “Milk cartel” case) 
  • Representation of  a major multinational publisher before the HCC and before the Athens Administrative Court of Appeals regarding its allegedly restricting passive sales in Greece and contributing to an alleged foreclosing effect at the distribution level of foreign language books
  • Advising  the Greek subsidiary of a multinational petroleum company regarding a sector-specific investigation launched by the Greek competition authority in the LPG market
  • Representing Shell Hellas before the Court of Appeals against an HCC decision imposing a fine of 19 million euro for alleged participation in a cartel
  • Representing Shell Hellas before the Court of Appeals against a third-party challenge of the clearance provided by the Hellenic Competition Commission for the acquisition of Shell Hellas by Motor Oil   
  • Advising an international consumer products company in the context of a sector investigation of the HCC in relation to shaving products
  • Advising Cadbury Hellas on the development of a “pilot” joint distribution platform with a third party
  • Advising a global technologies solutions company on the potential antitrust ramifications of the involvement of its software licensee (joint venture platform of four major Greek companies) in illegal horizontal practices
  • Representing Makro Cash & Carry (Greek subsidiary of the Metro Group) in the two parallel imports cases regarding major suppliers and Greek supermarket chains brought before the HCC, namely the  Unilever case and the Colgate Palmolive case
  • Advising a group of media companies on the antitrust implications of its cooperation with a provider of a satellite digital network and drafting answers to a respective questionnaire of the Hellenic Competition Commission
  • Advising MAN Hellas in the course of an investigation of the Hellenic Competition Commission.

C. Abuse of Dominant Position      

  • Advising an international spirits producer on the particularities of determining costs and setting prices and discounts, with a view to avoiding predatory pricing claims
  • Assisting Cadbury in connection with the drafting of its commercial contracts with wholesalers/ retailers with a view to antitrust compliance (in particular, rebate and exclusivity clauses thereof). 

D. Miscellaneous Advice / Assessment of Compatibility with EU Law

  • Drafting a letter to the Greek Parliament regarding a bill on the trade licensing of petroleum products on behalf of a number of petroleum trading companies established in Greece
  • Advising an EU consortium on the compatibility of the exclusive rights of Hellenic Duty Free Shops with ex-Article 86 of the EU Treaty, in the course of the  submission by the consortium of a bid for the acquisition of a controlling stake in the latter
  • Advising an international supermarket chain on the compatibility of its parallel imports of technological equipment with EU and Greek competition laws
  • Assisting an international mobile phone manufacturer in aligning with Greek Competition Laws in terms of an exclusive arrangement with its distributor in Greece
  • Advising an international spirits producer and a petroleum company on the compatibility of their resale agreements and pricing practices with Greek competition law and the EU block exemption on vertical restraints
  • Assisting a US company active in transportation services in the drafting of its Greek franchise agreements in compliance with Greek competition laws
  • Advising a foreign packaging manufacturer on one of the first leniency applications filed with the HCC (as part of a wave of leniency applications filed by such client in a number of EU member states)
  • Advising the Greek subsidiary of a French cosmetics group on the compatibility of its contracts with Greek and EU competition law
  • Drafting a legal opinion for EOEDSAP (Greek recycling supervisory body) in connection with the antitrust compliance of its licensing procedures  
  • Advising METRO AG on the implementation of its antitrust compliance programs on its Greek subsidiary  
  • Drafting the competition law compliance section of the Greek Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) Vendors Due Diligence Report for the purposes of the Corporation’s privatisation
  • Advising Public Power Corporation, Renewable Energy  (DEI ANANEOSIMES) in connection with the antitrust implications of its projected exploitation of geothermal sources in conjunction with a strategic partner   
  • Advising Mondelez (ex Kraft) on the alignment of several of its commercial contracts with competition rules
  • Contributing to the drafting of answers to a questionnaire of the European Commission regarding the compatibility of the Greek tonnage tax legislation with EU State and rules on behalf of the Association of Greek Shipowners
  • Conducting a year-long targeted antitrust audit exercise on behalf of BSH
  • Acting as shadowers in the context of a dawn raid of the Greek subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn conducted by the European Commission
  • Advising LafargeHolcim Greece SA on structuring a coherent rebates scheme vis-a-vis its cement wholesale customers across Greece
  • Advising Novartis Hellas SA on antitrust compatibility of various marketing schemes on new and existing medicinal products 
  • Advising L’Oreal Hellas, Clarins and Arla Foods Hellas, on every day antitrust compliance matters.

 

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