Lear’s economists assisted one of the leading companies in the market of corrugated cardboard sheets and boxes in the proceedings before the Italian Competition Authority for alleged price fixing conducts. Lear developed an analysis demonstrating that the evolution of prices charged by the client was consistent with that of the main price determinants within the specific features of the Italian market, as it was affected by relevant structural events that took place in the market, which the Italian Competition Authority had not considered.
Lear’s economists assisted the members of ASLO (Asociatia Societatilor de Leasing Operational), i.e. the Romanian industry trade association of operating leasing companies, investigated by the Romanian Competition Council for having allegedly enabled an exchange of sensitive commercial information among its associates. Continue reading ALLEGED HORIZONTAL AGREEMENT IN THE MARKET FOR OPERATING LEASE IN ROMANIA
The Italian Competition Authority started an investigation into the retail market for mobile telecommunications services to assess whether mobile operators had coordinated their strategy with reference to a change in the billing cycle for mobile services imposed by a change in regulation.
According to the Authority, the operators all reacted to the change in regulation in a similar manner, raising concern of coordination. Lear developed an analysis in support of one of the operators, showing that its behaviour was consistent with individual and autonomous profit maximization
Lear assisted several companies involved in an investigation by the Italian Competition Authority for an alleged horizontal agreement in the market for reinforcing steel used in the construction sector. Lear’s analysis showed that the econometric evidences presented by the Authority was not suitable to prove the existence of any anti-competitive agreement and that the practice under investigation could not alter competition in the market. The Italian Competition Authority found that the practice amounted to an infringement of competition law; however, its decision was overturned by the competent appeal court, and fines imposed by the Italian Competition Authority were annulled. Lear assisted the companies involved during proceedings before the Italian Competition Authority as well as for the appeal.
The Italian Competition Authority in 2018 held an investigation into Kedrion and Grifols, two providers of plasma derivatives, for their joint participation to a tender launched by the Italian Healthcare System. The Italian Competition Authority was concerned that the joint bid had unduly restricted competition for the award of the tender. Lear’s analyses successfully showed that the agreement had no anticompetitive effects and that it provided significant benefits to the Italian Healthcare System.
Lear assisted RCI Banque and Opel Finance, with two separate teams, in proceedings started by the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) seeking to prove the existence of an anticompetitive agreement between car manufacturers’ captive banks and regarding the purchase of motor vehicles through financing supplied by captive banks. The ICA’s investigation was triggered by the discovery of an information exchange between captive banks, and regarding financing terms. However, as Lear economists pointed out during proceedings, captive banks do not compete with one another, as each only finances the purchase of motor vehicles sold by its parent company (the car manufacturer); and the information exchanged by captive banks could enable coordination in a complex market such as that for the sale of motor vehicles. It was precisely on these grounds that that the Administrative Tribunal of Lazio upheld the appeal lodged by car manufacturers and their captive banks, setting aside the decision of the ICA.
The Italian Competition Authority started an investigation to assess whether a joint venture between TIM and Fastweb created for the implementation of FTTH (Fiber To The Home) networks might potentially harm competition. Lear assisted a competitor of the joint venture which at that time had just entered the wholesale market of FTTH network.
Lear assisted an association of companies providing long-term car rentals, investigated by the Italian Competition Authority for having allegedly enabled an exchange of sensitive and detailed commercial information among its associates. In order to rebut the allegation of the Italian Competition Authority, Lear developed a qualitative analysis centred on the level of aggregation of the exchanged data and the market heterogeneity and an empirical analysis to prove the absence of any anticompetitive effects. The proceedings resulted in a finding of non-infringement.
Lear assisted a major Italian bank in proceedings before the Italian Competition Authority related to the payment mechanism for the new Additional Optional Service SEDA. The allegation of the Italian Competition Authority was that eleven banks and the main banking association had coordinated to avoid a remuneration mechanism based on a multilateral interchange fee and had adopted a new mechanism – “1 to many” – able to reduce competitive pressure. The Italian Competition Authority claimed that the “1 to many” mechanism prevented the decrease in prices put forward by the Payment Services Directive. Lear’s economists were retained to show lack of any effect due to the alleged agreement and to help shape the defensive strategy by identifying inconsistencies in the economic arguments of the Italian Competition Authority.
Lear advised a major insurance company involved in a cartel investigation by the Italian Competition Authority. Lear’s analysis focused on highlighting the weaknesses of the ICA’s approach to the case, and provided evidence that the companies’ behaviour was the result of autonomous and economically rational strategies pursued by the companies. The Administrative Tribunal of Lazio overturned the Italian Competition Authority decision and annulled fines to Lear’s client. The decision by the Administrative Tribunal of Lazio was upheld by the Consiglio di Stato and became final.