Competition & Antitrust, Portugal updates

Fighting bid rigging: Competition Authority's advocacy initiative in public procurement
  • Portugal
  • 27 April 2017

The Fighting Bid Rigging in Public Procurement campaign is a highlight of the Competition Authority's recent advocacy initiatives. The campaign is intended to raise awareness among the state bodies that regularly award public contracts of the most common issues concerning bid rigging in public procurement. It also advises on how to detect illegal practices in the context of public tenders and design tender programmes in a way that inhibits potential collusive tendering.

Competition Authority closes antitrust inquiry into patent settlement between originator and generic pharmaceutical companies
  • Portugal
  • 05 January 2017

The Competition Authority recently concluded its antitrust inquiry into an agreement between pharmaceutical companies Teva and AstraZeneca, under which Teva had agreed to withdraw a generic medicine from the Portuguese market. The inquiry's findings are the first to combine competition and IP law in the context of a patent settlement between originator and generic pharmaceutical undertakings.

First margin squeeze win for Competition Authority
  • Portugal
  • 01 December 2016

The Court of Competition, Regulation and Supervision recently upheld a Competition Authority decision regarding an infringement of competition rules through the abuse of a dominant position as a result of a margin squeeze. This case constitutes an important result for the Competition Authority, which has been trying to consolidate its decisional practice in the antitrust field by developing improved response times and delivering more detailed investigations and solid decisions.

Constitutional Tribunal upholds non-suspensive effect of judicial challenges to Competition Authority fining decisions
  • Portugal
  • 10 November 2016

Following changes to the Competition Act, judicial challenges to Competition Authority decisions have non-suspensive effect. However, given the often punitive magnitude of fines imposed under the Competition Act, these changes have been criticised for infringing fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution. The Constitutional Tribunal recently gave its opinion on this issue for the first time.

Competition Authority publishes report for 2015
  • Portugal
  • 20 October 2016

The Competition Authority recently published its report for 2015, in which it details its activities, main achievements and relevant metrics. According to the report, 2015 was a busy and successful year for the authority in the context of antitrust and merger control. Further, the authority's response time and practice have improved, which is a clear indicator that it is becoming a more effective supervisory body.

Association of psychologists offers commitments to avoid antitrust infringement
  • Portugal
  • 06 October 2016

The Competition Authority recently issued a preliminary facts assessment regarding its investigation into whether the Association of Portuguese Psychologists' code of ethics breaches competition law. In order to address the authority's concerns, the association has proposed certain commitments that, if accepted, will allow the case to be closed without any finding of infringement.

Less is more: Competition Authority publishes report on taxi regulation
  • Portugal
  • 18 August 2016

The entry of new players into the taxi market has been highly contentious in Portugal and the modernisation of the regulatory regime is a challenge for the government. The Competition Authority recently published a report in this context on the regulation of passenger transport services, in which it sets out regulatory rules, analyses the constraints of such rules for competition in the market and issues recommendations.

Competition Authority submits final proposal for implementation of EU Private Enforcement Directive
  • Portugal
  • 28 July 2016

Following a public consultation, the Competition Authority has finalised its initial legislative proposal for the implementation of the EU Private Enforcement Directive. The proposal includes some rather innovative changes, with the legislative solutions for the implementation of the directive in Portugal going further than strictly required by the directive.

Competition Authority proposes closing resale price maintenance investigation
  • Portugal
  • 05 May 2016

The Competition Authority recently proposed closing an investigation into alleged resale price maintenance practices by DIA Portugal after it proposed commitments clarifying that its franchisees are free to set their resale prices and that it only recommends resale prices or defines maximum resale prices. This is the first time that the authority has proposed using the commitments procedure in a case involving resale price maintenance.

Court overturns Competition Authority fine for disclosure of incomplete information
  • Portugal
  • 25 February 2016

The Competition, Regulation and Supervision Court recently overturned a €100,000 fine that the Competition Authority had imposed on CP Carga for alleged disclosure of incomplete information during the investigation of an abuse of dominant position complaint. The court ruled that CP Carga had not provided inaccurate or incomplete information to the Competition Authority, as it did not have the data requested.

Competition Authority shows collaborative stance in dropping case against Ford
  • Portugal
  • 28 January 2016

In 2015 the Competition Authority investigated Ford Lusitana SA for restrictions in warranty extension agreements which prevented consumers from undertaking maintenance and repair operations at independent repair workshops. The authority ultimately closed the case following its acceptance of commitments by Ford and the imposition of conditions. The case exemplifies the authority's increasingly collaborative approach.

Competition Authority clears sale of TAP to Atlantic Gateway
  • Portugal
  • 26 November 2015

The Competition Authority recently examined the proposed sale of the TAP Group, which includes the Portuguese flag carrier Transportes Aéreos Portugueses SA, to Atlantic Gateway. Despite political and regulatory concern surrounding TAP's privatisation and sale to Atlantic Gateway, the Competition Authority found no competition problems in the planned transaction, which cleared merger control proceedings.

Competition authority settles first antitrust case under new Competition Act
  • Portugal
  • 29 October 2015

The Competition Authority recently fined five companies for anti-competitive conduct. Four companies applied for leniency and all of the participants in the cartel obtained a reduction in their fines during the settlement procedure. This is the first case in which the authority has used the settlement procedure under the new Competition Act, which resulted in a 10% reduction of the fines imposed.

Authority publishes findings on competition in port sector
  • Portugal
  • 01 October 2015

The Competition Authority recently published for public consultation its preliminary findings on competition in the port sector, which is expected to result in a set of recommendations for promoting competition. In light of the overarching impact of future recommendations and the strategic and economic importance of the sector, significant participation of stakeholders is expected.

Authority sends out warning against false and misleading statements
  • Portugal
  • 23 July 2015

The Competition Authority recently fined Peugeot Portugal €150,000 for providing false, inaccurate or incomplete information in response to a request from the authority in the context of an antitrust investigation. The case illustrates that the authority is willing to make use of its punitive prerogatives when it feels that companies are intentionally or negligently obstructing an investigation.

Commission clears Altice's acquisition of PT Portugal
  • Portugal
  • 25 June 2015

PT Portugal was recently acquired by Altice, a multinational cable and telecommunications company. The merger was expected to have significant horizontal effects by reducing competition in the provision of retail communication services. These concerns were overcome by Altice's willingness to revise the transaction and offer the divestment of its subsidiaries on the Portuguese market.

Exclusionary vertical agreements: Competition Authority's first 'commitment' decisions
  • Portugal
  • 23 April 2015

The Competition Authority recently launched its first public consultations on 'commitment' decisions in two vertical restraints cases regarding football broadcasting rights and warranty for motor vehicles respectively. In a commitment decision the Competition Authority closes an investigation without finding infringement, further to the submission of commitments by the defendant company addressing the competition concerns identified.

Healthcare services merger highlights dominant position of NHS
  • Portugal
  • 26 March 2015

The Competition Authority has cleared the merger of Fidelidade, a major national insurer, and Espírito Santo Saúde, one of the leading national healthcare services providers. In doing so, the authority noted that healthcare services provided by public and private hospitals constitute autonomous product markets. The decision also highlights the National Health Service's dominant position in the public healthcare sector.

Competition Authority announces top priorities for 2015
  • Portugal
  • 26 February 2015

As in 2014, the Competition Authority has established ambitious priorities for 2015. Considering the results achieved last year, it is expected to be particularly active in detecting, investigating and penalising potential competition infringements. The authority's strategic and operational objectives fall within three sets of priorities – penalising powers, supervisory powers and competition advocacy.

Individual trade restrictive practices regime – light at the end of the tunnel?
  • Portugal
  • 13 November 2014

The new legal regime on individual trade restrictive practices aims to clarify the legislation, with particular regard to sales below cost and abusive commercial practices. However, it was subject to criticism, as the introduction of new concepts raised interpretation problems. This led the Authority for Food and Economic Safety to publish frequently asked questions to offer guidance on the interpretation of the provisions.

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