ISSN 1977-091X

doi:10.3000/1977091X.C_2011.348.eng

Official Journal

of the European Union

C 348

European flag  

English edition

Information and Notices

Volume 54
29 November 2011


Notice No

Contents

page

 

I   Resolutions, recommendations and opinions

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

European Commission

2011/C 348/01

Commission Recommendation of 23 November 2011 on the revision of targets contained in performance plans under Commission Regulation (EU) No 691/2010 ( 1 )

1

 

II   Information

 

INFORMATION FROM EUROPEAN UNION INSTITUTIONS, BODIES, OFFICES AND AGENCIES

 

European Commission

2011/C 348/02

Non-opposition to a notified concentration (Case COMP/M.6415 — Vendôme Commerces/CDC/Immeuble Toulon) ( 1 )

4

2011/C 348/03

Non-opposition to a notified concentration (Case COMP/M.6378 — C1000/SdB Supermarket) ( 1 )

4

 

IV   Notices

 

NOTICES FROM EUROPEAN UNION INSTITUTIONS, BODIES, OFFICES AND AGENCIES

 

European Commission

2011/C 348/04

Euro exchange rates

5

2011/C 348/05

Communication from the Commission concerning the quantity not applied for to be added to the quantity fixed for the subperiod 1 April 2012 to 30 June 2012 under certain quotas opened by the Community for products in the poultrymeat sector

6

2011/C 348/06

Opinion of the Advisory Committee on restrictive practices and dominant positions given at its meeting on 25 May 2010 concerning a draft decision relating to Case COMP/39.092 (1) — Bathroom fittings and fixtures — Rapporteur: France

7

2011/C 348/07

Opinion of the Advisory Committee on restrictive practices and dominant positions at its meeting on 18 June 2010 concerning a draft decision relating to Case COMP/39.092 (2) — Bathroom fittings and fixtures — Rapporteur: France

8

2011/C 348/08

Final report of the Hearing Officer — COMP/39.092 — Bathroom fittings and fixtures

9

2011/C 348/09

Summary of Commission Decision of 23 June 2010 relating to a proceeding under Article 101 of the TFEU and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement (Case COMP/39.092 — Bathroom fittings and fixtures) (notified under document C(2010) 4185)

12

 


 

(1)   Text with EEA relevance

EN

 


I Resolutions, recommendations and opinions

RECOMMENDATIONS

European Commission

29.11.2011   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 348/1


COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION

of 23 November 2011

on the revision of targets contained in performance plans under Commission Regulation (EU) No 691/2010

(Text with EEA relevance)

2011/C 348/01

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 100(2) thereof,

Having regard to Commission Regulation (EU) No 691/2010 of 29 July 2010 laying down a performance scheme for air navigation services and network functions and amending Regulation (EC) No 2096/2005 laying down common requirements for the provision of air navigation services (1), and in particular Article 13(3) thereof;

Whereas:

(1)

Commission Regulation (EU) No 691/2010 laying down a performance scheme for air navigation services and network functions and amending Commission Regulation (EC) No 2096/2005 laying down common requirements for the provision of air navigation services, provides for the adoption by the Member State(s) of national or functional airspace block performance plans, including binding national targets or targets at the level of functional airspace blocks ensuring consistency with the European Union-wide performance targets. It also provides that the Commission should assess the consistency of national and functional airspace blocks targets with the European Union-wide performance targets.

(2)

Pursuant to Article 13(3) of Commission Regulation (EU) No 691/2010, the Commission may decide to issue a recommendation to the Member State(s) concerned to adopt revised performance targets.

(3)

A Performance Review Body was designated by the Commission on 29 July 2010, pursuant to Article 3 of Commission Regulation (EU) No 691/2010, to assist it in the implementation of the performance scheme.

(4)

For the setting of national or functional airspace block targets, European Union-wide performance targets for the years 2012 to 2014 were adopted by Commission Decision 2011/121/EU (2). These targets relate to the key performance areas of environment, capacity and cost-efficiency. However, Member States were not required to set binding targets in the areas of safety and environment during the first reference period.

(5)

Member States communicated their national plans to the Commission by 5 July 2011, including a plan presented jointly by Belgium and Luxembourg. Denmark and Sweden communicated a plan to the Commission on behalf of their functional airspace block (Danish-Swedish FAB). Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland communicated to the Commission a plan on behalf of their functional airspace block (FABEC).

(6)

In July and August 2011, the Performance Review Body assisted the Commission in the assessment of national and functional airspace block performance plans and delivered an assessment report to the Commission on 20 September 2011.

(7)

The assessment report of the Performance Review Body took into account the assumptions set out in Article 3 of Decision 2011/121/EU, information publicly available or available in Eurocontrol and also information made available by Member States in national and functional airspace block performance plans.

(8)

Having regard to the overriding safety objectives, the assessment made by the Commission of the national and functional airspace block performance plans and targets was based on the criteria laid down in Annex III to Regulation (EU) No 691/2010, in particular the overall situation of each individual Member State, pursuant to paragraph 1(b) of that Annex. It takes account not only of the performance targets required by Regulation (EU) No 691/2010, but also the other performance indicators or targets that may be contained in plans as a result of a national or functional airspace block initiatives.

(9)

Member States should adopt revised national or functional airspace block performance targets and appropriate measures for reaching those targets in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 13(4) of Regulation (EU) No 691/2010.

(10)

The revision of capacity targets should take account of the interaction with, and support from, the Network Manager.

(11)

Pursuant to Article 13(4) of Commission Regulation (EC) No 1794/2006 (3), Member States should calculate unit rates for the reference period on the basis of the national or functional airspace block performance plans, including the cost-efficiency targets set out in such plans, by 1 November 2011. If revised cost-efficiency targets are adopted after 1 November 2011, unit rates for the reference period should be recalculated on the basis of the final adopted cost-efficiency targets.

(12)

Following the publication of the assessment report of the Performance Review Body, a number of Member States had already indicated their intention to take the necessary measures to adopt revised performance targets in line with the Commission's views as expressed in this Recommendation.

(13)

When assessing the revised performance targets in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 14 of Regulation (EU) No 691/2010, this Recommendation will be taken into account as appropriate.

(14)

The Commission consulted the Member States concerned by the present Recommendation, in accordance with Article 13(3) of Regulation (EU) No 691/2010.

(15)

The measures provided for in this Recommendation are in accordance with the opinion of the Single Sky Committee,

HAS ADOPTED THIS RECOMMENDATION:

1.

The aim of this Recommendation is to request Member States, having regard to the assessments undertaken by the Performance Review Body and the results of contacts under paragraph 5, to adopt, as necessary and/or appropriate, revised performance targets at national or functional airspace block plan level in order to be consistent with, and adequately contribute to, the European Union-wide performance targets adopted by Decision 2011/121/EU for the years 2012 to 2014 (hereinafter the reference period).

2.

Based on the recommendations contained in the assessement report of the Performance Review Body, the Commission considers that:

(a)

capacity targets set by Greece, Spain, Austria, Poland and the United Kingdom in their national plans are not consistent with, and do not adequately contribute to, the European Union-wide targets;

(b)

the capacity target set by Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands in the plan for the Functional Airspace Block Europe Central (FABEC) is not consistent with, and does not adequately contribute to, the European Union-wide targets;

(c)

cost-efficiency targets set by Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Spain (for its continental en route charging zone), France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Hungary, Malta, Austria, Portugal, Finland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden and the United Kingdom in their national plans are not consistent with, and do not adequately contribute to, the European Union-wide targets.

3.

When adopting revised performance targets, Member States concerned are requested to ensure that the recommendations set out in the assessment report of the Performance Review Body are taken into account.

In particular, having taken note of the circumstances of each Member State:

(a)

Greece, Spain, Poland, Austria and the United Kingdom should improve their capacity targets to reach or fall below, by 2014, the following reference values (values as computed by Eurocontrol and used in the assessment report of the Performance Review Body):

Greece: 0,26 minute of average delay per flight,

Spain: 0,31 minute of average delay per flight,

Poland: 0,26 minute of average delay per flight,

Austria: 0,23 minute of average delay per flight,

United Kingdom: 0,27 minute of average delay per flight;

(b)

Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands should improve the capacity target for FABEC to reach or fall below, by 2014, the reference value of 0,4 minute of average delay per flight;

(c)

Member States referred to in paragraph 2 c) should take every opportunity for further improving cost-efficiency targets in national or functional airspace block performance plans during the reference period, in particular with regard to the evolution of the general context, the reduction of the cost of capital and support costs (costs other than those for air traffic controllers in operation), the increase in productivity and the rationalisation of investments in the context of the establishment of functional airspace blocks;

(d)

Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, France, Malta, Austria, Slovakia, Finland and the United Kingdom should review the assumptions underlying the risk premium and, consequently, the return on equity, and should provide justifications for the significant increases in the cost of capital;

(e)

Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Italy, Latvia, Hungary, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and United Kingdom should re-assess the size of and need for investments necessary to achieve the performance targets over the reference period, taking account of the opportunity for their rationalisation in the context of functional airspace blocks or regional projects.

4.

In addition to the recommendations set out in paragraph 3:

(a)

Member States are requested to specify in national or functional airspace block performance plans the contribution of investments over the reference period to, and impact on, the performance targets by providing references to business cases and/or cost-benefit analyses and describing their relevance in relation to the European ATM Master Plan, in particular as far as the deployment of the first implementation package (IP1) is concerned. This information should be consistent with the information contained in the business plans of air navigation service providers as specified in paragraph (b) of Section 2.2 of Annex I to Commission Regulation (EC) No 2096/2005 (4);

(b)

Member States are requested to provide the assumptions and rationale for establishing costs which may be deemed out of control in accordance with Article 11a(8) of Regulation (EC) No 1794/2006, with a view to facilitating the necessary adjustments at the end of the reference period;

(c)

Member States of a functional airspace block, in conjunction with the Performance Review Body, which have not adopted a performance plan with targets at functional airspace block level, are requested to communicate for information to the Commission aggregated performance targets highlighting the consistency at functional airspace block level with the European Union-wide performance targets as specified in Article 5(3) of Regulation (EU) No 691/2010.

5.

The Commission, in conjunction with the Performance Review Body, intends to follow up this Recommendation through bilateral and/or mulitlateral contacts with the Member States.

6.

This Recommendation is addressed to the Member States.

Done at Brussels, 23 November 2011.

For the Commission

Siim KALLAS

Vice-President


(1)  OJ L 201, 3.8.2010, p. 1.

(2)  OJ L 48, 23.2.2011, p. 16.

(3)  OJ L 341, 7.12.2006, p. 3.

(4)  OJ L 335, 21.12.2005, p. 13.


II Information

INFORMATION FROM EUROPEAN UNION INSTITUTIONS, BODIES, OFFICES AND AGENCIES

European Commission

29.11.2011   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 348/4


Non-opposition to a notified concentration

(Case COMP/M.6415 — Vendôme Commerces/CDC/Immeuble Toulon)

(Text with EEA relevance)

2011/C 348/02

On 23 November 2011, the Commission decided not to oppose the above notified concentration and to declare it compatible with the common market. This decision is based on Article 6(1)(b) of Council Regulation (EC) No 139/2004. The full text of the decision is available only in French and will be made public after it is cleared of any business secrets it may contain. It will be available:

in the merger section of the Competition website of the Commission (http://ec.europa.eu/competition/mergers/cases/). This website provides various facilities to help locate individual merger decisions, including company, case number, date and sectoral indexes,

in electronic form on the EUR-Lex website (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/en/index.htm) under document number 32011M6415. EUR-Lex is the on-line access to the European law.


29.11.2011   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 348/4


Non-opposition to a notified concentration

(Case COMP/M.6378 — C1000/SdB Supermarket)

(Text with EEA relevance)

2011/C 348/03

On 24 November 2011, the Commission decided not to oppose the above notified concentration and to declare it compatible with the common market. This decision is based on Article 6(1)(b) of Council Regulation (EC) No 139/2004. The full text of the decision is available only in English and will be made public after it is cleared of any business secrets it may contain. It will be available:

in the merger section of the Competition website of the Commission (http://ec.europa.eu/competition/mergers/cases/). This website provides various facilities to help locate individual merger decisions, including company, case number, date and sectoral indexes,

in electronic form on the EUR-Lex website (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/en/index.htm) under document number 32011M6378. EUR-Lex is the on-line access to the European law.


IV Notices

NOTICES FROM EUROPEAN UNION INSTITUTIONS, BODIES, OFFICES AND AGENCIES

European Commission

29.11.2011   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 348/5


Euro exchange rates (1)

28 November 2011

2011/C 348/04

1 euro =


 

Currency

Exchange rate

USD

US dollar

1,3348

JPY

Japanese yen

103,82

DKK

Danish krone

7,4375

GBP

Pound sterling

0,85820

SEK

Swedish krona

9,2597

CHF

Swiss franc

1,2309

ISK

Iceland króna

 

NOK

Norwegian krone

7,8355

BGN

Bulgarian lev

1,9558

CZK

Czech koruna

25,757

HUF

Hungarian forint

308,91

LTL

Lithuanian litas

3,4528

LVL

Latvian lats

0,6970

PLN

Polish zloty

4,5153

RON

Romanian leu

4,3660

TRY

Turkish lira

2,4817

AUD

Australian dollar

1,3435

CAD

Canadian dollar

1,3802

HKD

Hong Kong dollar

10,4038

NZD

New Zealand dollar

1,7694

SGD

Singapore dollar

1,7338

KRW

South Korean won

1 539,49

ZAR

South African rand

11,1555

CNY

Chinese yuan renminbi

8,5215

HRK

Croatian kuna

7,4985

IDR

Indonesian rupiah

12 183,43

MYR

Malaysian ringgit

4,2420

PHP

Philippine peso

58,392

RUB

Russian rouble

41,7500

THB

Thai baht

41,806

BRL

Brazilian real

2,4877

MXN

Mexican peso

18,7413

INR

Indian rupee

69,4560


(1)  Source: reference exchange rate published by the ECB.


29.11.2011   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 348/6


Communication from the Commission concerning the quantity not applied for to be added to the quantity fixed for the subperiod 1 April 2012 to 30 June 2012 under certain quotas opened by the Community for products in the poultrymeat sector

2011/C 348/05

Commission Regulation (EC) No 616/2007 (1) opened tariff quotas for imports of products in the poultrymeat sector. The applications for import licences lodged during the first seven days of October 2011 for the subperiod 1 January to 31 March 2012 do not, for quotas 09.4212, 09.4214, 09.4217 and 09.4218, cover the quantities available. Pursuant to the second sentence of Article 7(4) of Commission Regulation (EC) No 1301/2006 (2), the quantities that were not applied for are to be added to the quantity fixed for the following quota subperiod, from 1 April to 30 June 2012; they are set out in the Annex to this notice.


(1)  OJ L 142, 5.6.2007, p. 3.

(2)  OJ L 238, 1.9.2006, p. 13.


ANNEX

Quota order number

Quantities not applied for, to be added to the quantity fixed for the subperiod 1 April 2012 to 30 June 2012

(in kg)

09.4212

74 088 000

09.4214

9 820 100

09.4217

13 463 000

09.4218

9 276 800


29.11.2011   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 348/7


Opinion of the Advisory Committee on restrictive practices and dominant positions given at its meeting on 25 May 2010 concerning a draft decision relating to Case COMP/39.092 (1) — Bathroom fittings and fixtures

Rapporteur: France

2011/C 348/06

1.

The Advisory Committee agrees with the European Commission’s assessment of the facts as an agreement and/or concerted practice within the meaning of Article 101 of the TFEU and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement.

2.

The Advisory Committee agrees with the European Commission’s assessment of the products affected by the cartel.

3.

The Advisory Committee agrees with the European Commission’s assessment of the geographic area affected by the cartel.

4.

The Advisory Committee agrees with the European Commission's assessment that the agreement and/or concerted practice in the concerned Member States of the EU were capable of having an appreciable effect upon trade between Member States.

5a.

The Advisory Committee agrees with the European Commission’s assessment that the cartel constitutes a single and continuous infringement.

5b.

The Advisory Committee agrees with the European Commission’s assessment on the liability of each undertaking regarding the different geographic scopes of the single and continuous infringement.

6.

The Advisory Committee agrees with the European Commission’s assessment on the duration of the infringement.

7.

The Advisory Committee agrees with the European Commission as regards the addressees of the draft decision, specifically with reference to imputation of liability to parent companies of the groups concerned.

8.

The Advisory Committee agrees with the Commission that there are no aggravating circumstances applicable.

9.

The Advisory Committee agrees with the Commission that there are no attenuating circumstances applicable.

10.

The Advisory Committee agrees with the European Commission’s assessment of the applications made under the 2002 Leniency Notice.

11.

The Advisory Committee recommends the publication of its Opinion in the Official Journal of the European Union.


29.11.2011   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 348/8


Opinion of the Advisory Committee on restrictive practices and dominant positions at its meeting on 18 June 2010 concerning a draft decision relating to Case COMP/39.092 (2) — Bathroom fittings and fixtures

Rapporteur: France

2011/C 348/07

1.

The Advisory Committee agrees with the European Commission that a fine should be imposed on those addressees of the draft decision, for which an imposition of a fine is proposed.

2.

The Advisory Committee agrees with the European Commission on the basic amounts of the fines.

3.

The Advisory Committee agrees with the European Commission that there are no mitigating nor aggravating circumstances.

4.

The Advisory Committee agrees with the European Commission on the amounts of reduction of the fines based on the 2002 Leniency Notice.

5.

The Advisory Committee agrees with the European Commission’s assessment on inabilities to pay.

6.

The Advisory Committee agrees with the European Commission on the final amounts of the fines.

7.

The Advisory Committee recommends the publication of its Opinion in the Official Journal of the European Union.


29.11.2011   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 348/9


Final report of the Hearing Officer (1)

COMP/39.092 — Bathroom fittings and fixtures

2011/C 348/08

This case concerns a cartel through which producers of bathroom fittings and fixtures coordinated prices and rebates in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

BACKGROUND

Subsequent to an immunity application under the 2002 Leniency Notice from Masco Corporation on 15 July 2004, the Commission carried out inspections at the premises of several undertakings and associations in the bathroom fittings and fixtures industry in five countries, i.e. Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. Following the inspections also the undertakings Grohe, American Standard, Roca, Hansa and Dornbracht submitted leniency applications. The Commission granted conditional immunity to Masco on 2 March 2005.

WRITTEN PROCEDURE

Statement of objections

Following the abovementioned leniency applications and the subsequent investigation, the Commission, on 26 March 2007, issued a statement of objections (SO), which was notified to 79 legal entities belonging to 19 groups of undertakings (2). The Commission took the preliminary view that the addressees had participated, to a varying degree in scope and duration, in a single and continuous infringement of Article 101 of the TFEU (ex-Article 81 of the EC Treaty) and Article 53 of the EEA agreement on the market for bathroom fittings and fixtures (3) covering six Member States (4). According to the SO the addressees regularly co-coordinated price increases, agreed on price fixing and exchanged sensitive business information. The Commission announced its intention to adopt an infringement decision and to impose fines pursuant to Articles 7 and 23 of Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 (5).

Access to file

The parties received access to the file through a DVD. Oral statements made in the framework of the Leniency Notice were accessible at the Commission premises. During the access to file procedure information originally considered non-accessible was made available to the parties on three occasions in the form of additional DVDs.

Extensions of time period for reply to SO

The addressees of the SO were originally granted a deadline of two months to provide their written comments on the SO from the date of receipt of the Commission’s file in the form of a DVD. Following requests from several parties and due to, e.g. the disclosure of additional information and an intervening holiday period, two general extensions of one month each were granted to all addresses of the SO. Exceptionally, these general extensions were granted directly by DG Competition with the Hearing Officer's endorsement. Furthermore, following reasoned and justified requests, additional extensions were granted individually to several parties by the Hearing Officer responsible at the time. Generally, the parties were granted a time period of approximately four months to respond to the SO. All parties responded on time.

ORAL PROCEDURE

Oral hearing

All groups of undertakings, except RAF Rubinetteria SpA, exercised their right to be heard in an oral hearing, which took place on 12-14 November 2007 (6).

Letter of facts

A letter of facts was sent to all parties on 9 July 2009. By that letter the Commission drew their attention to certain pieces of evidence, which had not been specifically referred to or relied upon in the SO, but on which the Commission nevertheless intended to rely upon in the final decision. The parties were at the same time also informed about the conclusions that could be drawn from that evidence in support of the objections already put forward in the SO. Although the specific pieces of evidence had not been relied upon in the SO, they had nevertheless formed part of the file already made available. The parties were afforded a time period of three weeks to respond to the letter of facts.

After the consultation of the Advisory Committee one party to the proceedings requested a second oral hearing, due to an alleged unreasonable length of the administrative proceedings.

THE DRAFT DECISION

Following the addressees' written and oral submissions, the Commission has retained its objections against 63 legal entities belonging to 17 groups of undertakings while it has decided not to pursue them against two undertakings (7). With regard to the undertakings retained in the draft decision, the duration of the infringement has been significantly reduced in respect to most countries and the overall duration has been reduced from almost 19 years to about 12 years.

In addition, the scope and participation in the infringement have been narrowed for several parties as compared to the SO. More particularly, only eight undertakings are held liable for participating in a single and continuous infringement for the entire product scope and for the entire geographic area, i.e. Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. The remaining undertakings are only held liable for the single and continuous infringement for the countries in which their actual participation in the cartel could be established, as the evidence on the file is not sufficient to establish beyond doubt that they were aware, or should have reasonably been aware, of the full geographic coverage of the cartel arrangements. In particular, five Italian producers are only held liable for illegal contacts concerning taps and fittings and ceramics, as they were only active and aware of cartel arrangements in Italy, where collusion did not encompass shower enclosures. The remaining undertakings are however held liable for a single and continuous infringement covering all three product groups since, even if they were not active in the other product markets, they were aware of (or could reasonable have foreseen) the entire product scope of the anticompetitive arrangements. Nevertheless, for the purpose of calculating the fine, only sales effectively made in markets where they were active will be taken into account. Moreover, the decision finds that there is prescription for imposing fines in respect of the Netherlands.

Finally, with regard to the length of the administrative proceedings in this case I recall that Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights requires that every person has the right to have his or her affairs handled within a reasonable time by the institutions and bodies of the Union. While the overall procedure has lasted approximately five years and six months, more than three years have elapsed since the notification of the statement of objections and about 31 months since the oral hearing was held. It appears that the time period following the oral hearing has been significantly protracted notwithstanding the fact that the Commission during this period issued a letter of facts to which the parties were granted the opportunity to respond and has also been examining and assessing several claims for inability to pay. In any event, it can be left open whether the time required for the Commission to adopt the current decision has breached the principle of reasonable time since there are no indications that the duration would have impaired the effective exercise of the rights of defence (8).

In my opinion the draft decision relates only to objections in respect of which the parties have been afforded the opportunity to make known their views.

I consider that the right to be heard of all participants to the proceedings has been respected in this case.

Brussels, 21 June 2010.

Michael ALBERS


(1)  Pursuant to Articles 15 and 16 of Commission Decision 2001/462/EC, ECSC of 23 May 2001 on the terms of reference of Hearing Officers in certain competition proceedings (OJ L 162, 19.6.2001, p. 21).

(2)  Masco, Sanitec, Grohe, American Standard, Hansa, […], Villeroy&Boch, Duscholux, Duravit, Roca, Dornbracht, Kludi, Artweger, Rubinetteria Cisal, […], Mamoli Rubinetteria, RAF Rubinetteria, Teorema Rubinetteria and Zuchetti Rubinetteria.

(3)  The bathroom fittings and fixtures market is comprised of three product groups: (i) taps and fittings; (ii) shower enclosures and; (iii) ceramics.

(4)  Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

(5)  Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty (OJ L 1, 4.1.2003, p. 1).

(6)  Although all groups of undertakings, except RAF Rubinetteria, were represented at the hearing, some legal entities belonging to the undertakings American Standard, Duscholux and Sanitec did not participate individually, i.e. Trane Inc (formerly American Standard Corporation), Duscholux AG, Allia SA/SAS, produits Céramiques de Touraine SA, Keramag Keramische Werke A.G., Keramag Vertriebsges. m.b.H., Keramag Belgium N.V. (SA), Keramag Netherlands B.V., Koralle Sanitärprodukte GmbH, Koninklijke Sphinx B.V., Sphinx Bathrooms Belgium N.V. (SA) and Pozzi-Ginori SpA.

(7)  […]

(8)  Cf. ECJ judgment of 21 September 2006, case C-105/04 P, para. 35 et seq, Nederlandse Federatieve vereniging voor de Groothandel op Elektrotechnisch Gebied (FEG).


29.11.2011   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 348/12


Summary of Commission Decision

of 23 June 2010

relating to a proceeding under Article 101 of the TFEU and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement

(Case COMP/39.092 — Bathroom fittings and fixtures)

(notified under document C(2010) 4185)

(Only the English, French, German and Italian texts are authentic)

2011/C 348/09

On 23 June 2010, the Commission adopted a decision relating to a proceeding under Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’). In accordance with the provisions of Article 30 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003  (1), the Commission herewith publishes the names of the parties and the main content of the decision, including any penalties imposed, having regard to the legitimate interest of undertakings in the protection of their business secrets. A non-confidential version of the decision will be available on the Directorate-General for Competition website at:

http://ec.europa.eu/competition/antitrust/cases

1.   INTRODUCTION

(1)

The Decision was addressed to 62 legal entities belonging to 17 undertakings active in the bathroom fittings and fixtures sector for infringing Article 101 of the TFEU and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement. From 16 October 1992 to 9 November 2004 the addressees participated in a single, complex and continuous infringement, covering the territory of Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium and France, consisting of price coordination of annual price increases as well as coordination of price increases on the occasion of specific events (such as increase of raw material prices, road toll, introduction of the euro), fixing of minimum prices and rebates and exchange of sensitive business information.

2.   CASE DESCRIPTION

2.1.   Procedure

(2)

The case was opened on the basis of an immunity application made by Masco under the Commission’s 2002 Leniency Notice on 15 July 2004. The Commission obtained further evidence from inspections that took place in November 2004 at the premises of several addressees of the Decision in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. Following those inspections, the Commission received leniency applications from Grohe, Ideal Standard, Hansa, Dornbracht, Roca and Artweger and sent out several requests for information.

(3)

A statement of objections was issued on 26 March 2007 and all undertakings were given the possibility to have access to the file and defend themselves against the preliminary view of the Commission in writing and, on 12-14 November 2007, during an oral hearing. The Advisory Committee on restrictive practices and dominant positions issued a favourable opinion on 25 May 2010 and 18 June 2010 and the Commission adopted the Decision on 23 June 2010.

2.2.   Summary of the infringement

(4)

The Decision concerns a single and continuous infringement of Article 101 of the TFEU and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement in the bathroom fittings and fixtures sector for the following product groups: taps and fittings, ceramic sanitary ware and shower enclosures.

(5)

The infringement consisted in the coordination of annual price increases as well as the coordination of price increases on the occasion of specific events (such as increase of raw material prices, road toll, introduction of the euro), fixing of minimum prices and rebates and exchange of sensitive business information. The price coordination mainly took place in the context of meetings held in 13 different national trade associations, supplemented by bilateral contacts among some of the undertakings, in the time span of 1992 to 2004 and was focused on sales made by the manufacturers to wholesalers.

(6)

The cartel extended to six Member States, namely Germany, Austria, Italy, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. For the Netherlands, an infringement is found in the Decision, but no fines are imposed, as the infringement for this country is prescribed as from 31 December 2009 onwards.

(7)

The Decision finds a single complex and continuous infringement (SCCI) for the three product groups in the mentioned six Member States. Out of the 17 groups of undertakings concerned, 8 are held liable for the SCCI in all six countries (i.e. Masco, American Standard, Grohe, Hansa, Duravit, Duscholux, Sanitec and Villeroy & Boch), as it was established that could not have been unaware of the general scope and essential characteristics of the cartel. The remaining undertakings are held only liable for the SCCI for the countries in which they were active in the cartel, because their awareness of the overall geographic scheme of the cartel could not be established (2).

(8)

Each addressee is held liable according to its own involvement in the cartel arrangements, that is, either as a direct participant, or, in the case of a parent company, because the behaviour of the subsidiary is imputed to the parent if the parent exercised decisive influence over the conduct of the subsidiaries during the period in question.

2.3.   Adressees and duration

(9)

The Decision is addressed to 62 legal entities belonging to the following 17 undertakings: Masco, Grohe, Ideal Standard (3), Roca, Hansa, Dornbracht, Sanitec, Villeroy & Boch, Duravit, Duscholux, Kludi, Artweger, Cisal, Mamoli, RAF, Teorema and Zucchetti.

(10)

The duration for the various addressees of the Decision is as follows:

(a)

Masco Corporation (1.1.1995-15.7.2004); Hansgrohe AG (16.10.1992-15.7.2004); Hansgrohe Deutschland Vertriebs GmbH (6.11.2002-15.7.2004); Hansgrohe Handelsgesellschaft GmbH (30.5.1995-15.7.2004); Hansgrohe SA/N.V. (21.9.2000-15.7.2004); Hansgrohe B.V. (28.9.1994-31.12.1999); Hansgrohe Sarl (1.5.2004-15.7.2004); Hansgrohe S.R.L. (16.10.1992-15.7.2004); Hüppe GmbH (15.9.1994-15.7.2004); Hüppe GesmbH (12.10.1994-15.7.1994); Hüppe Belgium SA (N.V.) (10.3.2003-15.7.2004); Hüppe B.V. (20.1.1999-31.12.1999);

(b)

Grohe Beteiligungs GmbH (15.3.1993-9.11.2004); Grohe AG (15.3.1993-9.11.2004); Grohe Deutschland Vertriebs GmbH (6.3.1998-9.11.2004); Grohe Gesellschaft GmbH (21.7.1994-9.11.2004); Grohe SA (N.V.) (21.9.2000-9.11.2004); Grohe Sarl (10.12.2002-9.11.2004); Grohe SpA (15.3.1993-9.11.2004); Grohe Nederland B.V. (28.9.1994-31.12.1999);

(c)

Trane Inc. (15.3.1993-9.11.2004); WABCO Europe BVBA (29.10.2001-9.11.2004); WABCO Austria GesmbH (21.7.1994-9.11.2004); Ideal Standard GmbH (19.3.2003-9.11.2004); Ideal Standard Produktions-GmbH (30.10.2001-9.11.2004); Ideal Standard France (10.12.2002-9.11.2004); Ideal Standard Italia s.r.l. (15.3.1993-9.11.2004); Ideal Standard Nederland B.V. (30.11.1994-31.12.1999);

(d)

Hansa Metallwerke AG (16.10.1992-9.11.2004; Hansa Nederland B.V. from 26.11.1996-31.12.1999); Hansa Italiana s.r.l. (16.10.1992-9.11.2004); Hansa Belgium BVBA-SPRL (10.3.2003-9.11.2004) and Hansa Austria GmbH (21.7.1994-9.11.2004);

(e)

Sanitec Europe Oy (12.10.1994-9.11.2004); Allia S.A.S. (25.2.2004-9.11.2004); Produits Céramiques de Touraine SA (25.2.2004-9.11.2004); Keramag Keramische Werke AG (12.10.1994-9.11.2004); Koninklijke Sphinx B.V. (28.9.1994-9.11.2004); Koralle Sanitärprodukte GmbH (24.1.1996-9.11.2004); Pozzi Ginori SpA (14.5.1996-14.9.2001);

(f)

Villeroy & Boch AG (28.9.1994-9.11.2004); Villeroy & Boch Austria GmbH (12.10.1994-9.11.2004); Villeroy & Boch Belgium SA (N.V.) (30.10.2001-9.11.2004); Villeroy & Boch S.A.S. (25.2.2004-9.11.2004);

(g)

Duravit AG (7.7.2000-9.11.2004); Duravit BeLux Sprl/Bvba (30.10.2001-9.11.2004); Duravit SA (25.2.2004-9.11.2004);

(h)

Duscholux GmbH & Co. KG (29.11.1994-9.11.2004); Duscholux Belgium SA/N.V. (21.9.2000-9.11.2004); DPM Duschwand-Produktions- und Montagegesellschaft GmbH (15.9.1994-9.11.2004);

(i)

Aloys F. Dornbracht GmbH & Co. KG Armaturenfabrik (6.3.1998-9.11.2004);

(j)

Kludi GmbH & Co. KG (6.3.1998-9.11.2004); Kludi Armaturen GmbH & Co. KG (21.7.1994-9.11.2004);

(k)

Roca Sanitario SA (29.10.1999-9.11.2004); Roca Sarl (10.12.2002-9.11.2004); Laufen Austria AG (12.10.1994-9.11.2004);

(l)

Artweger GmbH. & Co. KG (12.10.1994-9.11.2004);

(m)

Rubinetteria Cisal SpA (15.3.1993-9.11.2004);

(n)

Mamoli Robinetteria SpA (18.10.2000-9.11.2004);

(o)

RAF Rubinetteria SpA (15.3.1993-9.11.2004);

(p)

Rubinetterie Teorema SpA (15.3.1993-9.11.2004);

(q)

Zucchetti Rubinetteria SpA (16.10.1992-9.11.2004).

2.4.   Remedies

(11)

The Decision applies the 2006 Guidelines on fines (4).

2.4.1.   Basic amount of the fine

(12)

The basic amount of the fine was determined as a proportion of the value of the sales of bathroom fittings and fixtures products made to wholesalers by each undertaking in the relevant geographic area in the last year of the infringement (2003 for most companies), multiplied by the number of years and months of each undertaking's participation in the infringement (variable amount), plus an additional amount, also calculated as a proportion of the value of sales, in order to deter horizontal price-fixing agreements (entry fee).

(13)

Taking into account the nature of the infringement, the combined market share of all undertakings concerned, the geographic scope of the infringement and implementation, both the variable amount and the entry fee were set at 15 %.

2.4.2.   Adjustments to the basic amount

(14)

No aggravating or mitigating circumstances were found applicable in this case. No increase for deterrence was applied.

2.4.3.   Application of the 10 % turnover limit

(15)

The 10 % turnover limit provided for in Article 23(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 was attained in respect to all undertakings except two of them. The respective fines were adjusted accordingly.

2.4.4.   Application of the 2002 Leniency Notice: reduction of fines

(16)

As regards the application of the 2002 Leniency Notice, Masco was granted full immunity from fines. The fines for Grohe and Ideal Standard were reduced by 30 %. Furthermore, in accordance with paragraph 23 of the 2002 Leniency Notice, the Commission did not take the facts regarding ceramics in Belgium and taps and fittings and ceramics in France into account when setting the fine for Ideal Standard. The reason for this was that Ideal Standard was the first undertaking to inform the Commission about the infringement established in relation to these product groups and countries and these facts were previously unknown to the Commission. The leniency applications of Hansa, Roca, Dornbracht and Artweger were rejected for not having provided significant added value compared to the information already in the Commission's possession.

2.4.5.   Inability to pay

(17)

Ten undertakings invoked their inability to pay under point 35 of the 2006 Guidelines on fines. The Commission considered those claims and carefully analysed the financial situation of those undertakings and the specific social and economic context.

(18)

In assessing the undertakings’ financial situation, the Commission examined the companies’ recent and current financial statements as well as their projections for subsequent years. The Commission considered a number of financial ratios measuring the companies’ solidity, profitability, solvency and liquidity as well as its equity and cash flow situation. In addition, the Commission took into account relations with outside financial partners such as banks and relations with shareholders. The analysis also took into account restructuring plans.

(19)

The Commission assessed the specific social and economic context for each undertaking whose financial situation was found to be sufficiently critical. In this context, the impact of the global economic and financial crisis on the bathroom fitting sector was taken into account. The Commission also concluded for the five undertakings concerned that the fine would cause their assets to lose significant value.

(20)

As a result of the Commission's analysis, the fines of three companies were reduced by 50 % and those of another two by 25 % given their difficult financial situation.

3.   FINES IMPOSED BY THE DECISION

1.

 

EUR 0

On Masco Corporation; Hansgrohe AG; Hansgrohe Deutschland Vertriebs GmbH; Hansgrohe Handelsgesellschaft GmbH; Hansgrohe SA/N.V.; Hansgrohe B.V.; Hansgrohe Sarl; Hansgrohe S.R.L.; Hüppe GmbH; Hüppe GesmbH; Hüppe Belgium SA (N.V.) and Hüppe B.V.

2.

(a)

EUR 25 372 377

Jointly and severally on Grohe Deutschland Vertriebs GmbH, Grohe Beteiligungs GmbH and Grohe AG

(b)

EUR 4 917 533

Jointly and severally on Grohe Gesellschaft GmbH, Grohe Beteiligungs GmbH and Grohe AG

(c)

EUR 4 132 820

Jointly and severally on Grohe SA (N.V.), Grohe Beteiligungs GmbH and Grohe AG

(d)

EUR 6 277 702

Jointly and severally on Grohe Sarl, Grohe Beteiligungs GmbH and Grohe AG

(e)

EUR 14 124 828

Jointly and severally on Grohe SpA, Grohe Beteiligungs GmbH and Grohe AG

(f)

EUR 0

Jointly and severally on Grohe Nederland B.V., Grohe Beteiligungs GmbH and Grohe AG

TOTAL

EUR 54 825 260

 

3.

(a)

EUR 259 066 294

On Trane Inc.

(b)

EUR 44 995 552

Jointly and severally on WABCO Europe BVBA and Trane Inc.

(c)

EUR 1 519 000

Jointly and severally on WABCO Austria GesmbH, WABCO Europe BVBA and Trane Inc.

(d)

EUR 0

Jointly and severally on Ideal Standard France, WABCO Europe BVBA and Trane Inc.

(e)

EUR 12 323 430

Jointly and severally on Ideal Standard Italia s.r.l., WABCO Europe BVBA and Trane Inc.

(f)

EUR 5 575 920

Jointly and severally on Ideal Standard GmbH, WABCO Europe BVBA and Trane Inc.

(g)

EUR 0

Jointly and severally on Ideal Standard Produktions-GmbH, WABCO Europe BVBA and Trane Inc.

(h)

EUR 2 611 000

Jointly and severally on WABCO Austria GesmbH and Trane Inc.

(i)

EUR 0

On Ideal Standard Nederland B.V.

TOTAL

EUR 326 091 196

 

4.

(a)

EUR 17 700 000

Jointly and severally on Roca Sanitario SA and Laufen Austria AG

(b)

EUR 6 700 000

Jointly and severally on Roca Sarl and Roca Sanitario SA

(c)

EUR 14 300 000

Laufen Austria AG

TOTAL

EUR 38 700 000

 

5.

(a)

EUR 10 181 196

On Hansa Metallwerke AG

(b)

EUR 2 212 713

Jointly and severally on Hansa Austria GmbH and Hansa Metallwerke AG

(c)

EUR 2 036 239

Jointly and severally on Hansa Italiana s.r.l. and Hansa Metallwerke AG

(d)

EUR 111 314

Jointly and severally on Hansa Belgium BVBA-SPRL and Hansa Metallwerke AG

(e)

EUR 0

Jointly and severally on Hansa Nederland B.V. and Hansa Metallwerke AG

TOTAL

EUR 14 541 462 (5)

 

6.

 

EUR 12 517 671

On Aloys F. Dornbracht GmbH & Co. KG Armaturenfabrik

7.

(a)

EUR 9 873 060

On Sanitec Europe Oy

(b)

EUR 26 068 884

Jointly and severally on Keramag Keramische Werke AG and Sanitec Europe Oy

(c)

EUR 1 395 690

Jointly and severally on Koninklijke Sphinx B.V. and Sanitec Europe Oy

(d)

EUR 4 579 610

Jointly and severally on Allia S.A.S. and Sanitec Europe Oy

(e)

EUR 2 529 689

Jointly and severally on Produits Céramiques de Touraine SA, Allia S.A.S. and Sanitec Europe Oy

(f)

EUR 4 520 000

Jointly and severally on Pozzi Ginori SpA and Sanitec Europe Oy

(g)

EUR 5 233 840

Jointly and severally on Koralle Sanitärprodukte GmbH and Sanitec Europe Oy

(h)

EUR 3 489 227

On Koralle Sanitärprodukte GmbH

TOTAL

EUR 57 690 000

 

8.

(a)

EUR 54 436 347

On Villeroy & Boch AG

(b)

EUR 6 083 604

Jointly and severally on Villeroy & Boch Austria GmbH and Villeroy & Boch AG

(c)

EUR 2 942 608

Jointly and severally on Villeroy & Boch Belgium SA (N.V.) and Villeroy & Boch AG

(d)

EUR 8 068 441

Jointly and severally on Villeroy & Boch S.A.S. and Villeroy & Boch AG

TOTAL

EUR 71 531 000

 

9.

(a)

EUR 25 226 652

On Duravit AG

(b)

EUR 2 471 530

Jointly and severally on Duravit BeLux SPRL/BVBA and Duravit AG

(c)

EUR 1 568 143

Jointly and severally on Duravit SA and Duravit AG

TOTAL

EUR 29 266 325

 

10.

(a)

EUR 384 022

On Duscholux GmbH & Co. KG

(b)

EUR 128 007

On Duscholux Belgium SA

(c)

EUR 1 147 652

On DPM Duschwand-Produktions- und Montagegesellschaft GmbH

TOTAL

EUR 1 659 681

 

11.

(a)

EUR 3 233 192

On Kludi GmbH & Co. KG

(b)

EUR 2 282 253

On Kludi Armaturen GmbH & Co. KG

TOTAL

EUR 5 515 445

 

12.

 

EUR 2 787 015

On Artweger GmbH. & Co. KG

13.

 

EUR 1 196 269

On Rubinetteria Cisal SpA

14.

 

EUR 1 041 531

On Mamoli Robinetteria SpA

15.

 

EUR 253 600

On RAF Rubinetteria SpA

16.

 

EUR 421 569

On Rubinetterie Teorema SpA

17.

 

EUR 3 996 000

On Zucchetti Rubinetteria SpA


(1)  OJ L 1, 4.1.2003, p. 1.

(2)  Those undertakings are Roca (held liable for Austria and France), Dornbracht and Kludi (held liable for Austria and Germany), Artweger (held liable for Austria), and the Italian undertakings Cisal, Mamoli, RAF, Teorema, Zucchetti (all held liable for Italy, where coordination as set out in the Decision only covered taps and fittings and ceramics).

(3)  The former Ideal Standard group is now split into several undertakings. The legal entities that were part of the former Ideal Standard group and to which the Decision is addressed are listed in paragraph (10) (c).

(4)  Guidelines on the method of setting fines imposed pursuant to Article 23(2) (a) of Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 (OJ C 210, 1.9.2006, p. 2).

(5)  See Decision of 1 March 2011 amending Decision C(2010) 4185 final relating to a proceeding under Article 101 on the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement, C(2011) 1178.