Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Tacit cartels

with 3 comments

A year and a half ago we anticipated that there was a rumor that the European Commission was thinking about attempting to prove a cartel by resorting to indirect economic evidence instead of to “smoking-gun” sort of evidence. See here. We said back then that economic analysis may be very useful for the purpose of identifying cartels, but that it may not be sufficient to prove their existence.

A few developments have taken place since we wrote that post. To mention only three: (i) the case -concerning cement producers- was indeed formally opened; (ii) I became involved on it as one of the lawyers for one of the investigated companies, which is why I’ve never referred to it again on this blog; and (iii) a number of affected companies -including our client- appealed the Commission’s decision requesting the said companies to dig their own grave provide the millions of  data necessary to cook the economic evidence.

We won’t talk about this ongoing investigation nor about the pending Court cases. What we want to bring to your attention is that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has already made a very similar move by sanctioning (with $ 1.26 billion) 11 cement producers for an alleged cartel on the basis of circumstantial economic evidence. See the press release here.

The CCI’s case is built on the observation of price paralellism, increases in price following certain meetings, low levels of capacity utilization, dispatch paralellism and the earning of super-normal profits.

As I told my new Korean friends last Tuesday, competition law is becoming a discipline with no center. It’s therefore safe to guess that we will be seeing many additional test-cases initiated in jurisdictions other than the US and the EU.

Another different but very important news: more than a month has gone by since WordPress selected us for a pilot project pursuant to which AdWords are now displayed on Chillin’Competition. We are very happy to report that the approximately 25.000 visits that we’ve had since then have almost made us rich. We have so far earned 9,80 euros!!! In another month we’ll save enough money to pay a couple of beers 😉

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

28 June 2012 at 7:40 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Dear Alfonso and Nicolas

    I am a final year law student in India and have been writing on competition law for quite some time now. Last year I started a blog titled “The Indian Competition and Anti-Trust Blog”. The link can be found at the bottom of this comment.

    I would like your honest opinion on it. How would you rate it, how it could be improved, etc. Criticism is ofcourse also welcome. It’s obviously no where close to this blog (which have been following for quite some time now. 🙂 ). Being a law student, don’t get enough time to update it as frequently as it should be.

    I can be reached at

    Hoping to hear from you guys soon

    Thanking you

    Hoping you are well

    Sudipto Sircar

    Sudipto Sircar

    29 June 2012 at 5:19 pm

  2. Dear Sudipto. I am also Indian and just checked your blog out of curiosity. Good initiative. May be Alfonso and Nicolas have checked it too, but in case they have not noticed I wanted to call their attention and yours to one point that you could improve:

    Your post on the domination of sport includes copy-pasted paragraphs from one post they wrote on Chilin Competition. Also you publish a post on oracle/sun the same day they did. So, my suggestion is: always quote the sources of your inspiration, even more if you copy them!

    Otherwise it looks fok to me. the tone, format and style are also similar to Chilin but that is a good idea, I think. Good luck.


    30 June 2012 at 2:32 am

    • Dear Blogreader

      Thanks a lot for your comment. Yes, do agree that often rely on this blog to find case laws and understand EU Competition law (since frankly, good authoritative books on European competition law are too expensive in India for me to afford). And you are absolutely right, should give credit wherever it is due. Shall definitely do so from now on.

      Sudipto Sircar

      30 June 2012 at 11:57 am

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