EU/Competiton: Industry and Consumer goods

Newsletter 5/2020

Sector specific updates
Mergers: Mylan and Pfizer's Upjohn division approved, subject to conditions

The Commission approved 22.04.20 the proposed merger between the global pharmaceutical company Mylan and Upjohn, a business division of Pfizer, which operates Pfizer’s off-patent branded and generic established medicines. The decision is conditional on the divestment of Mylan’s business for certain generic medicines. The transaction will lead to the combination of Mylan, one of the top five generic suppliers in the EEA with the originator Upjohn, whose products have lost exclusivity following patent expires. Visit the case dossier here.

Mergers: Acquisition of the European catering business of LSG by Gategroup approved, subject to conditions

The Commission approved 03.04.20 the proposed acquisition of the European business of Lufthansa Service Group (“LSG”) by Gategroup. The approval is conditional on full compliance with commitments offered by Gategroup. As a result of this transaction, Gategroup would acquire sole control of the European business of LSG (“LSG EU”) by way of purchase of shares and assets. The transaction excludes LSG’s retail on-board business. Visit the case dossier here.

General news
Covid – Norway: Temporary law extends deadlines for merger control – 15wds

The Norwegian Parliament adopted 17.04.20 a temporary law introducing exceptions from procedural rules in the Competition Act due to the outbreak of Covid-19. The law extends some of the deadlines for the review of mergers with 15 working days. The Competition Authority’s deadlines in Section 20 of the Competition Act for informing parties that the Authority may intervene against a notified transaction, for issuing a statement of objections, and for adopting decisions confirming remedies proposed by the parties are extended. The deadlines in Section 20 a of the Competition Act for the handling of appeals before the Competition Tribunal are also extended. These extensions apply both to mergers the Competition Authority is currently examining as well as to future transactions that are notified during the period under which the temporary act is in force. The Act applies until 31.10.20.

Covid-19: Public procurement

The Commission released 01.04.20 guidance for public buyers to help public authorities use the flexibility provided by the EEA’s public procurement framework to ensure rapid and efficient purchases of all necessary equipment. The possibilities range from considerably shortening the public procurement process to emergency procurement that is not subject to EU procedural requirements and does not require the prior publication of tender notices. The guidance also recommends that public buyers consider alternative innovative solutions and ways of engaging with the market. Visit the guidance here.

GDPR: Guidance to ensure data protection standards of apps fighting the pandemic

The Commission published 16.04.20 guidance on the development of new apps that support the fight against coronavirus in relation to data protection. The development of such apps and their take up by citizens can have a significant impact on the treatment of the virus and can play an important role in the strategy to lift containment measures, complementing other measures like increased testing capacities. This guidance follows the recent publication of the Commission Recommendation on a common EEA approach for the use of mobile applications and mobile data, and is accompanying an EEA toolbox on contact tracing apps, which is also published 16.04.20. Visit the guidance here and the accompanying recommendation here.

State aid – Norway: Turnover compensation scheme approved

ESA approved 17.04.20 a temporary compensation scheme for companies in Norway covering substantial losses in turnover resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak and restrictive measures implemented. Companies of all sizes all over Norway are hit hard by the impact of the pandemic. Urgent action is needed to avoid a wave of bankruptcies and further job losses. The situation is acute for companies that are already not able to pay their fixed monthly costs. Many more are likely to face this problem in the coming weeks. The new compensation scheme will be generally applicable across most sectors of the Norwegian economy. It will benefit companies facing a sudden loss of turnover due to the economic effects of the outbreak. Visit the decision here.

State aid – Norway: Start-up scheme approved

ESA approved 27.04.20 a scheme that ensures access to liquidity for start-up facilitators and related organisations. The Norwegian start-up ecosystem consist of incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces and other facilitators. They are struggling financially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The sector is experiencing large revenue losses and is in danger of disappearing. This would weaken the opportunities for a whole generation of entrepreneurs in Norway. These undertakings can now receive grants under the approved scheme, which has a budget of NOK 50 million. Visit the decision here.

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