Competition & Antitrust updates


Contributed by Lenz & Staehelin
Public contracting entities and distribution grid operators must publicly tender electricity purchases
  • Switzerland
  • 27 May 2021

In a formal recommendation, the Competition Commission has opined that Swiss public tender law applies to an electricity supply where a public contracting entity purchases electricity for its own internal consumption (eg, the supply of administrative buildings or public transport) and a distribution grid operator purchases electricity for further delivery to end customers. It is fair to say that competitive pressure among electricity suppliers will intensify in Switzerland.

New unilateral conduct rules significantly broadened
  • Switzerland
  • 01 April 2021

Parliament recently approved a counterproposal to the Fair Price Initiative, thereby revising the Cartel Act and adopting the concept of 'relative market power'. Under the new law, prohibitions previously applicable only to dominant companies will be extended to companies with relative market power. The new law also introduces a geo-blocking ban.

New law prohibits online booking platforms from using price-parity clauses
  • Switzerland
  • 18 March 2021

The new law amending the Federal Act against Unfair Competition states that unfair competition occurs if an operator of an online platform for booking accommodation services uses general terms and conditions that restrict the pricing of accommodation facilities by means of price-fixing clauses, particularly price-parity clauses. The bill has been criticised for having been initiated not in the interest of consumers, but rather in the interest of the hotel industry, thus serving individual business interests.

ComCo's assessment of state aid for COVID-19-troubled airlines
  • Switzerland
  • 11 February 2021

Unlike EU competition law, Switzerland has no actual state aid regime. However, in the area of air transport, there is an exception. Until now, this provision had little significance in practice. Due to the ongoing downturn in air transport in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the financial difficulties resulting therefrom, this is now changing and a practice regarding its application and interpretation from a Swiss perspective is being established for the first time.

Parliament agrees on stricter concept of market power
  • Switzerland
  • 14 January 2021

Parliament is currently debating the so-called 'fair price initiative' and an indirect counter-proposal by the government, both of which aim to tighten the Cartel Act. Among other new provisions, the concept of relative market power will be introduced to combat foreclosure of the Swiss market and price discrimination against Swiss corporate customers. Both chambers of Parliament have agreed that the concept of relative market power will apply not only to suppliers, but also to customers.

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