European and Swedish Antitrust News (April 27, 2020)

Photo: Fabian Horst

The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority has issued an invitation to the 5G-auctions in Sweden to be held later this year, and the auctions are designed to result in a market with at least 4 competitive actors. In other news, the EU Commission has approved the Upjohn-Mylan merger subject to conditions, and the Commission has approved Swedish State aid for SAS. The SCA has filed a court case against Sundsvall municipality for illegal procurement and will investigate the building materials sector in Sweden.

PTS issues invitation to 5G-auctions in Sweden. The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) will auction a total of 15 licenses for 20 MHz each at the 3.5 GHz band and 8 licenses for 10 MHz each at the 2.3 GHz band. If there are at least 4 bidders meeting the set minimum price, but no more than 3 bidders win licenses in the 3.5 GHz band auction, there are special rules in place for the 2.3 GHz band auction in order to secure that the fourth bidder can get substantial bandwidth to ensure a resulting competitive market. The auctions will be held in November 2020, but applications shall be submitted to PTS no later than June 30 2020.

Commission approves Upjohn-Mylan merger subject to conditions. Mylan is a major European producer of generic medicines while Upjohn is Pfizer’s China-based business division for off-patent and generic medicines. The agreed deal will see Upjohn be spun off to Pfizer shareholders, upon which the new company will immediately acquire Mylan. As markets are national due to regulation, the Commission raised horizontal concerns on a total of 36 markets defined as molecule-country pairs, and the parties have therefore committed to divest all of Mylan’s overlapping businesses.

Commission approves Swedish state aid to SAS. Sweden is issuing a €137 million State guarantee on a revolving credit facility for Scandinavian airline SAS to compensate for damage directly linked to the coronavirus. The Commission has found the measure to be proportionate and therefore concluded that the scheme is in line with EU State aid rules.

Swedish Competition Authority to investigate building materials sector. The Swedish Government has handed the SCA an assignment to research and analyze competition in the business for building materials. Citing years of continuously increasing costs for new housing construction, the Government states that almost half of the cost increases are derived from the building materials sector which could indicate competition issues in the sector.

SCA files case against Sundsvall municipality for illegal procurement. Sundsvall initially contracted Svensk Markservice AB for landscaping in 2011 after a public procurement procedure and eventually extended the contract twice. But after the contract had expired in 2018 the municipality didn’t initiate a procurement in time for summer 2019 and hastily signed a new contract through a negotiated procedure without publication. The SCA states that this wasn’t the type of urgency where such a procedure is allowed, and has therefore filed a case against Sundsvall at the administrative court.

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