2017-47 Report – Hansa metallwerke AG and Others v European Commission

Court Court of Justice
Date of ruling 26 January 2017
Case name (short version) Hansa Metallwerke AG and Others v European Commission
Case Citation Case C-611/13 P

ECLI:EU:C:2017:47

Key words Appeal — Competition — Agreements, decisions and concerted practices — Bathroom fittings and fixtures markets of Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Austria — Coordination of selling prices and exchange of sensitive business information — Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 — Article 23(2) — Ceiling of 10% of turnover — Obligation to state reasons — Protection of legitimate expectations
Basic context Hansa Metallwerke AG, Hansa Nederland BV, Hansa Italiana Srl, Hansa Belgium and Hansa Austria GmbH (“Hansa”) against the judgment of the General Court (Fourth Chamber) of 16 September 2013 in Case T-375/10 Hansa Metallwerke and Others v Commission, by which the General Court dismissed the application brought by the appellants for, primarily, partial annulment of Commission Decision C(2010) 4185 final of 23 June 2010 relating to a proceeding under Article 101 TFEU and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement (Case COMP/39.092 – Bathroom fittings and fixtures) and, in the alternative, for a reduction of the fine imposed on them in that decision – Infringement of the principle that the penalty must be specific to the offender and of the principle of legitimate expectations – Inadequate statement of reasons in the General Court’s judgment.
Points arising – admissibility
Points arising – substance  The first ground of appeal, alleging breach of the principle that penalties must be specific to the offender

27    As the General Court correctly noted in paragraph 87 of the judgment under appeal, it is apparent from the settled case-law of the Court of Justice that the fact that, owing to the application of the ceiling of 10% of turnover referred to in the second subparagraph of Article 23(2) of Regulation No 1/2003, certain factors such as the gravity and duration of the infringement are not actually reflected in the amount of the fine imposed is merely a consequence of the application of that upper limit to the final amount (see, in particular, judgments of 28 June 2005, Dansk Rørindustri and Others v Commission, C‑189/02 P, C‑202/02 P, C‑205/02 P to C‑208/02 P and C‑213/02 P, EU:C:2005:408, paragraph 279, and of 12 July 2012, Cetarsav Commission, C‑181/11 P, not published, EU:C:2012:455, paragraph 81).

28      That upper limit seeks to prevent fines being imposed which it is foreseeable that the undertakings, owing to their size, as determined, albeit approximately and imperfectly, by their total turnover, will not be able to pay (judgments of 28 June 2005, Dansk Rørindustri and Others v Commission, C‑189/02 P, C‑202/02 P, C‑205/02 P to C‑208/02 P and C‑213/02 P, EU:C:2005:408, paragraph 280, and of 12 July 2012, Cetarsa v Commission, C‑181/11 P, not published, EU:C:2012:455, paragraph 82).

 

The second ground of appeal, concerning the obligation to state reasons

36      It should be borne in mind that, in accordance with the settled case-law of the Court, the General Court’s obligation to state reasons does not require it to provide an account which follows exhaustively and one by one all the arguments put forward by the parties to the case; the reasoning may therefore be implicit, on condition that it enables the persons concerned to know why the General Court has not upheld their arguments and provides the Court of Justice with sufficient material for it to exercise its power of review (see, to that effect, in particular, judgments of 7 January 2004, Aalborg Portland and Others v Commission, C‑204/00 P, C‑205/00 P, C‑211/00 P, C‑213/00 P, C‑217/00 P and C‑219/00 P, EU:C:2004:6, paragraph 372, and of 9 September 2008, FIAMM and Others v Council and Commission, C‑120/06 P and C‑121/06 P, EU:C:2008:476, paragraph 96).

37      In particular, the obligation to state the reasons for its judgments does not in principle extend to requiring the General Court to justify the approach taken in one case as against that taken in another case before it, or, still less, as against a decision taken by the Commission in another case (see, to that effect, judgment of 11 July 2013, Team Relocations and Others v Commission, C‑444/11 P, not published, EU:C:2013:464, paragraph 66, and order of 4 September 2014, Metropolis Inmobiliarias y Restauraciones v OHIM, C‑509/13 P, not published, EU:C:2014:2173, paragraph 51).

The third ground of appeal, alleging breach of the principle of the protection of legitimate expectations

45      In so far as the arguments raised by the appellants relate, in particular, to paragraph 115 of the judgment under appeal, concerning the lack of authorisation of the Commission’s agents or services concerned to give such assurances, it is sufficient to note that that paragraph is, in any event, included for the sake of completeness, and that those arguments are not, therefore, capable of leading to the judgment under appeal being set aside.

46      The third ground of appeal must, therefore, be rejected as ineffective.

Intervention
Interim measures
Order 1.      Dismisses the appeal;

2.      Orders Hansa to pay the costs

Fine changed No
Case duration 37 months
Judge-rapporteur S. Rodin
Advocate-general M. Wathelet
Notes on academic writings

Tags

Über

Picture Kiran Desai

Kiran Desai

Digest Editor

Partner, EU Competition Law Leader, EY Law, Brussels

>> Kiran’s CoRe Blog Case Digests >>

Hinterlasse eine Antwort

Zusammenhängende Posts

26. Nov 2020
Features von Daniel Mandrescu

Lithuanian Railways and Slovak Telecom – Implications for the Essential Facility Doctrine

The recent cases of Lithuanian Railways and Slovak Telekom address the matter of refusal to deal. Both cases, which do not engage in the assessment of this abuse, in fact, provide important guidance on the scope of application of the essential facility doctrine for current practice that will be covered in this post. Refusals to deal and the essential facility […]
22. Okt 2020
Features von Stefano Riela

Covid-19 and the geopolitics of the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index

The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed that trade is not a free flow whose tap globalization has turned on for good: export may be restricted due to unavailability and, as in the case of import, as part of foreign policy. What emerged as a discontinuity with the globalization of the last three decades makes the assessment of a market structure more […]
05. Nov 2020
Case Digests von Kiran Desai

2019:1025 LS Cable & System v Commission

Court Court of Justice Date of ruling 28 November 2019 Case name (short version) LS Cable & System v Commission Case Citation Case C-596/18 P ECLI:EU:C:2019:1025 Key words Appeal — Competition — Agreements, decisions and concerted practices — European market for underground and submarine power cables — Market allocation in connection with projects — Fines — Burden of proof — […]
05. Nov 2020
Case Digests von Kiran Desai

2019:966 Silec Cable and General Cable v Commission

Court Court of Justice Date of ruling 14 November 2019 Case name (short version) Silec Cable and General Cable v Commission Case Citation C-599/18 P ECLI:EU:C:2019:966 Key words Appeal — Competition — Agreements, decisions and concerted practices — European market for underground and submarine power cables — Market allocation in connection with projects — Proof of the infringement — Presumption […]
05. Nov 2020
Case Digests von Kiran Desai

2019:675 HSBC Holdings plc and Others v European Commission

Court General Court Date of ruling 24 September 2019 Case name (short version) HSBC Holdings plc and Others v European Commission Case Citation T-105/17 ECLI:EU:T:2019:675 Key words Competition — Agreements, decisions and concerted practices — Euro Interest Rate Derivatives sector — Decision establishing an infringement of Article 101 TFEU and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement — Manipulation of the […]
05. Nov 2020
Case Digests von Kiran Desai

2019:633 FVE Holýšov I s. r. o. and Others v European Commission

Court General Court Date of ruling 20 September 2019 Case name (short version) FVE Holýšov I s. r. o. and Others v European Commission Case Citation T-217/17 ECLI:EU:T:2019:633 Key words State aid — Market for electricity generated from renewable sources — Measures setting a minimum purchase price for electricity generated from renewable energy sources or granting a bonus to producers […]
05. Nov 2020
Case Digests von Kiran Desai

2019:532 Région Île-de-France v European Commission

Court General Court Date of ruling 12 July 2019 Case name (short version) Région Île-de-France v European Commission Case Citation T-292/17 ECLI:EU:T:2019:532 Key words State aid — Aid scheme implemented by France between 1994 and 2008 — Investment subsidies awarded by the Île-de-France Region — Decision declaring the aid scheme compatible with the internal market — Advantage — Selective nature […]
05. Nov 2020
Case Digests von Kiran Desai

2019:519 Quanta Storage, Inc. v European Commission

Court General Court Date of ruling 12 July 2019 Case name (short version) Quanta Storage, Inc. v European Commission Case Citation T-772/15 ECLI:EU:T:2019:519 Key words Competition — Agreements, decisions and concerted practices — Market for optical disk drives — Decision finding an infringement of Article 101 TFEU and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement — Collusive agreements relating to bidding […]
05. Nov 2020
Case Digests von Kiran Desai

2019:515 Sony Corporation and Sony Electronics, Inc v European Commission

Court General Court Date of ruling 12 July 2019 Case name (short version) Sony Corporation and Sony Electronics, Inc v European Commission Case Citation T-762/15 ECLI:EU:T:2019:515 Key words Competition — Agreements, decisions and concerted practices — Market for optical disk drives — Decision finding an infringement of Article 101 TFEU and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement — Collusive agreements […]
05. Nov 2020
Case Digests von Kiran Desai

2019:514 Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Inc. and Hitachi-LG Data Storage Korea, Inc. v European Commission

Court General Court Date of ruling  12 July 2019 Case name (short version) Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Inc. and Hitachi-LG Data Storage Korea, Inc. v European Commission Case Citation  T-1/16 ECLI:EU:T:2019:514 Key words Competition — Agreements, decisions and concerted practices — Market for optical disk drives — Decision finding an infringement of Article 101 TFEU and Article 53 of the EEA […]

Nutzen Sie unseren Newsletter, um sich regelmäßig über Konferenzen, Workshops, Trainings und die  neuesten Ausgaben unserer Fachzeitschriften u.a. aus den Bereichen des europäischen Wettbewerbs- und Vergaberechte, Datenschutzrechte, Abfallrecht, Umwelt- und Planungsrecht sowie Chemikalien- und Pharmarecht zu informieren.

Verpassen Sie keine Events und Publikationen. Neuigkeiten abonnieren