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20 Jun

In the Picture - Safety first! Screening of foreign direct investments in Belgium

Imagine ... 💭 You are a member of the management team of a Belgian Internet provider. Your company wants to roll out a state-of-the-art mobile network in Belgium and is looking for capital to do so. The search for suitable investors goes smoothly and an agreement in principle is reached relatively quickly with an American telecom juggernaut to acquire a 32% stake in the company.

You are on cloud nine. Since the investor is not acquiring control, there is no merger control required and nothing seems to stand in the way of the rapid implementation of the investment. Yet you have heard talks about screening regimes for foreign investments in EU Member States, including Belgium. Surely this investment does not fall under such a regime? Or does it?

Read our latest #inthepictureSafety first! Screening of foreign direct investments in Belgium’, written by our competition associate Michèle de Clerck.

#inthepicture #fdi #foreigndirectinvestment #law #belgianlaw #mergercontrol #investments

13 Jun

case highlight - European Commission vs. Deutsche Telekom (C-221/22P)

In Deutsche Telekom, the Court of Justice held that the Commission and national competition authorities must pay sufficiently high interests on fines unduly paid to them by companies. Specifically, the interest rate may not be limited to compensating for the depreciation in the value of money. It must cover compensation at a standard rate to which the company that paid that fine is entitled because it was deprived for a certain period of time of the use of the funds corresponding to the amount unduly collected by the Commission.

Not so pleasant news for the Commission, but also national competition authorities may have to reassess their national rules on the matter.

In Belgium, fines are paid to (and possibly repaid by) the Deposit and Consignment Fund, which applies the interest rate set by Ministerial Decree of 13 October 2016 (currently set at 2,5%). The question is whether this is sufficiently high considering the Court of Justice’s Judgment in Deutsche Telekom.

Interested in learning more on this case?

- Judgment 🔗

- Interest rate Deposit and Consignment Fund 🔗

#competitionlaw #europeancommission #belgiancompetitionauthority #ECJ #contrastupdate

contrast update
12 Jun

Priority notice of the Belgian Competition Authority published

The Belgian Competition Authority published its 2024 priority notice (NL/FR

The priority sectors are the same as in 2023 and include public procurement, agri-food, and the digital and telecom sector.

Specific initiatives for 2024 are the pro-active detection of bid rigging, the creation of a task force to conduct market investigations, the publication of an enforcement notice on the digital sector in Belgium as well as a leaflet on the opportunities which the DMA may offer Belgian tech-companies. The BCA also reiterates its willingness to provide informal advice regarding sustainability initiatives, in particular in the agricultural sector.

We will report on these initiatives when we learn more.

#belgiancompetitionauthority #competitionlaw #antitrust #lawfirm #contrastupdate

contrast update
11 Jun

contrast competition update – Acquisition of Porsche Centre East-Flanders by D’Ieteren approved

🚨🚗 contrast competition update – Acquisition of Porsche Centre East-Flanders by D’Ieteren approved by Belgian Competition Authority subject to behavioural commitments

On 10 June 2024, the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) approved the acquisition of the official Porsche dealer Porsche Centre East-Flanders by D’Ieteren subject to certain behavioural commitments.

D’Ieteren is the official importer of new Porsche vehicles and original spare parts for Belgium. At the same time, D’Ieteren is also active downstream as it owns 6 (out of 9) locations of the official Porsche network in Belgium. By acquiring the Porsche Centre East-Flanders, D’Ieteren now owns 7 locations.

The BCA had raised serious concerns as to the proposed acquisition, because of a risk of (i) reduced competition in some local catchment areas for repair and maintenance services and (ii) input foreclosure of independent dealers.

In response to these concerns, D’Ieteren made the following behavioural commitments, to which it must adhere for 10 years:

1. Safeguards regarding existing and new approvals of Porsche sales and/or after-sales outlets

2. The implementation of Chinese walls for commercially sensitive information relating to Porsche between the import and retail divisions of D’Ieteren

3. A general non-discrimination obligation on the part of D’Ieteren towards independent dealers

4. A commitment to voluntary notify to the BCA any future acquisitions of remaining official Porsche dealers even if such acquisitions were to fall below the applicable turnover thresholds.

Questions? Contact our competition partner Herlinde Burez and senior associate Laura Sente, or your usual contact at contrast.

#competitionlaw #mergercontrol #belgiancompetitionauthority #contrastupdate

contrast update
07 Jun

Soft skill training at contrast on feedback

Sustainable entrepreneurship also implies continuously building a positive work culture.

With our contrast training team, we organised a lunch session on the art of feedback. Thanks Michel De Gieter of The Tipping Point for the fascinating training which is the start of several more workshops within our team on this topic. We are looking forward to the rest of the journey.

Also interested in joining our journey? Join our team.

#sustainability #SDGs #ESG #entrepreneurship #lawfirm #fitforpurpose #contrasttraining #teamspirit

CT - contrast training
04 Jun

Team building

Last Friday we had an incredibly fun team building. We enjoyed a lovely atmosphere, an original bus ride, tasty local wines, beautiful walks, cosy golf carts, and a delicious waterfront barbecue. A perfect way to start the summer!

Watch our team here.

#teamspirit #teambuilding #lawfirm #colleagues #contrastvibes

Event People
30 May

contrast corporate update - Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Package

🚩Today, the Council of the European Union adopted the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Package, consisting of:

- a Regulation (EU Single Rulebook);
- a 6th AML Directive; and
- a Regulation establishing a new AML Authority.

The Regulation will for the first time introduce a unified regulatory framework applying directly in all Member States. Most of the provisions will apply three years after its entry into force (expected mid-2027).

The 6th AML Directive is intended to enhance cooperation between the national authorities of the Member States. Member States will have two or three years (depending on the provision) to transpose the Directive into their national legislation.

Finally, the Package includes the creation of the 'Anti-Money Laundering Authority' (AMLA) as a new European supervisory authority, to be established in Frankfurt and expected to be operational by mid-2025.

Questions? Contact our corporate counsel Ine Schockaert and paralegal Marthe Wouters, or your usual contact at contrast.

#EU #EUlaw #AML #antimoneylaundering #moneylaundering #corporatelaw #contrastupdate

contrast update
24 May

contrast competition update - EC fines Mondelēz €337.5 million

🚨 contrast competition update – EC fines Mondelēz €337.5 million for restricting cross-border trade in breach of EU competition law 🚨

The European Commission (EC) found that Mondelēz breached EU competition law by restricting cross-border trade of various chocolate, biscuit and coffee products through various practices. More specifically, the EC concluded that these practices constituted:
• an abuse of Mondelez’ dominant position in certain national markets for the sale of chocolate tablets; or
• anticompetitive agreements or concerted practices.

Mondelēz’ abuse consisted of the following practices:
• a refusal to supply a wholesaler in Germany to prevent the resale of the products in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria and Romania; and
• a termination of supply of its products in the Netherlands to prevent imports into Belgium.

In addition, the EC identified twenty-two problematic agreements and practices which are discussed in some more detail here👉

Mondelēz acknowledged having infringed EU competition law.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager mentioned at a press conference that more similar cases are in the pipeline 👉

For more information, you can consult the press release of the EC here 👉

Questions? Contact our competition partners Filip TuytschaeverHerlinde Burez or Sebastien Engelen, or your usual contact at contrast.

#competitionlaw #europeanlaw #antitrust #europeancommission #foodindustry #chocolate #contrastupdate

contrast update
24 May

contrast corporate update - CSDDD

📣 Hot off the press - the Council has just adopted the final CSDDD!

More info via the following link.

#EU #CSDDD #corporate #duediligence #ESG #sustainability #corporatesustainability #humanrights #contrastupdate

contrast update
23 May

contrast competition update - Telenet’s cyclo-cross commitments accepted by Belgian Competition Authority

On 22 May 2024, the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has accepted a series of commitments by Telenet in relation to the allocation and acquisition of broadcasting rights for cyclo-cross races.

The BCA had previously expressed concerns about the exclusivity-agreements between Telenet and the cyclo-cross organisers in question. According to the BCA these agreements were liable to exclude Telenet’s competitors from the market for cyclo-crossing broadcasting rights, and thus risked limiting competition for the supply of television services to end users.

In response to these concerns, Telenet has made the following commitments:

  1. Transparency in Acquisition: Telenet will only acquire the exclusive broadcasting rights for the Superprestige, the UCI World Cup or the X20 Baths Trophy if these rights are sold through an open, transparent and non-discriminatory tendering procedure.
  2. Limitation on Agreement Duration: Any exclusive agreement that Telenet enters into regarding the broadcasting rights for the Superprestige, the UCI World Cup, or the X20 Bathrooms Trophy will be limited to a maximum duration of four years.
  3. Restriction on Exclusive Rights: Telenet will not acquire the exclusive broadcasting rights to more than 75% of the cyclo-cross races taking place during the same cyclo-cross season.

These commitments will remain in effect until the conclusion of the 2026-2027 cyclocross competition season.

For more information on these recent developments, you can consult the press release of the BCA here 👉

Questions? Contact our competition partners Filip TuytschaeverHerlinde Burez or Sebastien Engelen, or your usual contact at contrast.

#competitionlaw #belgiancompetitionautority #contrastupdate

contrast update