News & Insights

  • 13/01/2022
  • News

Van Bael & Bellis expands leadership of renowned EU Competition team

Following the successful launch of its London office last year, Van Bael & Bellis adds to the leadership of its expanding EU/UK competition team with the appointment of partner Porter Elliott as co-head of the firm’s competition law practice. Porter will work alongside senior partner Andrzej Kmiecik, appointed head of practice in 2019, in managing the growing team. Porter joined Van Bael & Bellis in 1997 and was made partner in 2005. He advises on all aspects of competition law and is one of the firm’s most experienced merger control lawyers, having advised on more than 100 transactions over the past 25 years. During his career, Porter has been involved in some of the most notable deals in the market, including Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype and the successful opposition to the proposed joint venture between BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, both of which were recognised by Global Competition Review with matter of the year awards. He has assisted clients such as Boeing and Motorola on numerous acquisitions and acted as co-counsel for Halliburton in the EU merger control filing and review of its $34.6 billion acquisition of Baker Hughes, one of the largest and most complex transactions ever to be subject to an EU merger control proceeding. More recently, Porter advised Fincantieri on its proposed acquisition of rival shipbuilder Chantiers de l'Atlantique, one of the major EU Phase II merger reviews of 2020. He was also involved in Take-Two’s proposed acquisition of video game publisher Codemasters. Managing partner, Philippe De Baere, confirms that Porter’s appointment is part of the firm’s global growth strategy: “As one of the original European firms to specialise in competition and trade law, we are resolutely proud of our history. At the same time, we are committed to the future growth of our firm, and a key part of that is developing our leadership teams so that we can continue to provide the highest levels of service and expertise to our international clients.” Co-head of practice, Andrzej Kmiecik, comments further: “Now, more than ever, regulatory requirements are raising new and complex competition law questions for clients. As one of Brussels’ largest competition teams, our exceptional group is well positioned to meet these demands. Porter is a key member of that team and his appointment is a natural progression in the evolution of our practice.” Porter Elliott comments: “I am honoured to take on this role and work alongside Andrzej, who was my mentor for many years, as well as so many other talented lawyers in our Brussels and London offices. I am looking forward to making a meaningful contribution to the future direction of what I consider to be the premier competition practice in Europe.”

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    • 18/05/2022
    • News

    Investor-State Claims against Mexico: Recent Developments in the Energy and Mining Sectors

    As an update to our August 2021 client alert, this client alert provides an overview of the most recent regulatory developments in the energy and mining sectors in Mexico and their potential effect on foreign investments.

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    • 16/05/2022
    • Articles

    Belgium - In Enforcement Priority Note for 2022, Pharmaceutical Industry is Again Target of Belgian Competition Authority

    The Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has just published its enforcement priority note for 2022 (see, attachments). In keeping with its list of priorities in previous years and in tandem with the approach taken by fellow competition authorities, including the Dutch "Autoriteit Consument & Markt", the BCA will continue to have the pharmaceutical industry in the crosshairs and makes it clear that its vigilance and efforts apply to the entire value chain. As if to remind stakeholders that it means business, the BCA refers to recent enforcement action against pharmaceutical wholesalers (see, Van Bael & Bellis Life Sciences News and Insights of 18 February 2022). While this “hybrid” settlement case resulted in a fine of EUR 29.8 million for pharmaceutical wholesaler Pharma Belgium-Belmedis, the BCA continues to pursue proceedings against another wholesaler, CERP, which refused to settle. The BCA is also understood to handle cases involving excessive pricing and access to the hospital market. Of broader interest than the pharmaceutical industry is the BCA’s announcement that its budget will benefit from an increase of EUR 1.4 million (20%). The additional funds are earmarked for staff expansion, IT, knowledge management, and enforcement tools such as e-discovery and whistle blowers.

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    • 11/05/2022
    • Newsletters

    VBB on Belgian Business Law, Volume 2022, No. 04

    The April 2022 issue of our Belgian Business Law newsletter reporting on the latest developments in a range of areas, including competition, data protection, intellectual property and labour law.

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    • 09/05/2022
    • News

    Van Bael & Bellis successfully assists the relatives of a murdered Commission Official in an action for damage

    In a judgment delivered on 5 May 2022, the Court of Justice ended a 13-year long dispute between the family of Alessandro Missir, a Commission official who was murdered while on mission in Rabat, Morocco, and the Commission. The long dispute involved all courts of the European Union, including the then-Civil Service Tribunal, the General Court (both as a judge of first instance and of appeal) and the Court of Justice. For the first time in history, the Court of Justice ruled that the closest family members of an EU official are entitled to obtain compensation for the material and moral damage suffered as a consequence of its death, if it has been established that the EU institution acted with negligence by failing to provide full protection to the official at stake as foreseen by the applicable staff rules. Moreover, the Court of Justice held that the EU institutions are jointly and severally liable and must pay full compensation even if another subject (e.g., the murder) has contributed to causing the damage. With this latest judgment, the Court definitively established that the right to compensation is not only available to the official's ascendants and descendants but must also be extended to siblings. The Missir family was represented by Fabrizio Di Gianni, Gabriele Coppo and Aldo Scalini. A copy of the judgment is available here.

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    • 06/05/2022
    • Newsletters

    VBB on Competition Law, Volume 2022, No. 4

    The April 2022 issue of our newsletter, VBB on Competition Law, which covers major developments in competition law at the European Union, UK and Member State levels.

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    • 04/05/2022
    • News

    Van Bael & Bellis partner Andreas Reindl will speak at CompLaw's Antitrust West Coast Conference

    On 12 May 2022, Van Bael & Bellis partner Andreas Reindl will participate in a panel entitled “The Future of Mergers.”  Panellists will discuss major developments in merger policy and enforcement in the US and Europe, including new or evolving theories of harm, the revision of enforcement policies, and the development of new guidance such as the merger guidelines. More information about the event can be found here.

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    • 04/05/2022
    • Articles

    European Commission Launches European Health Data Space

    On 3 May 2022, the European Commission (the Commission) launched the European Health Data Space (EHDS), the European Union’s first sector-specific set of rules pursuant to its 2020 European data strategy. The EHDS, as expressed in the proposed Regulation on the European Health Data Space (COM(2022) 197 final) and in an associated Commission Communication (COM(2022) 196 final), has two principal components: • primary use of electronic health data, i.e., rules to improve access to and control by natural persons over their personal electronic health data in healthcare; and • secondary use of electronic health data, i.e., rules to broaden the use of health data for the benefit of society at large in areas as diverse as research, innovation, policy-making, patient safety, personalised medicine, statistics and regulatory activities. Under the primary use of electronic health data individuals will have easy and free of charge access to their own health data for purposes of data management and sharing the data with healthcare professionals (HCP) in and across Member States in the language of the HCP. Files such as ePrescriptions, images, and laboratory results will be created and accepted in a common European format and will be stored and transferred in a safe environment. The rights of the individuals will be guaranteed by a new digital health authority in each Member State and each such authority will participate in [email protected], a central platform for digital health that will support and facilitate the exchange of electronic health data between Member State contact points for digital health. The secondary use of electronic health data will boost the access to and utilisation of health data for research and other purposes of benefit to society. Access will be subject to a permit to be delivered by a newly created health data access body which will ensure that the data is used only for defined purposes in a close and secure environment. The identity of individuals will not be revealed, and specific types of data usage will be prohibited. Examples include taking decisions to exclude individuals or groups of natural persons from insurance coverage and engaging in advertising activities that target HCPs, health organisations or individuals. The health data access bodies will be connected to [email protected], a new European facility that creates a link between national contact points and the central platform specifically for the secondary use of electronic health data. The principal documents that embody the EHDS are attached and include the proposed Regulation, the Commission Communication, a Commission press release and a set of questions and answers.

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    • 02/05/2022
    • News

    Van Bael & Bellis successfully assists Giant Electric Vehicle Kunshan (“GEV”) in obtaining the annulment of the EU anti-dumping and countervailing duties on e-bikes from China

    In two judgments issued on 27 April 2022, the General Court of the European Union annulled the anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed on e-bikes manufactured by GEV. The General Court found that the price undercutting calculation carried out by the Commission in the context of the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations was vitiated by a methodological error because the price of the Union producers included certain elements, namely SG&A and profits of their related selling entities, which were not included in the price of GEV used by the Commission. This methodological error led to an unfair price comparison and was liable to call into question the legality of the contested regulations by invalidating the Commission’s entire causation analysis. This has led the General Court to annul the contested regulations in so far as they concern GEV, thereby scrapping the 20.7% anti-dumping and 3.9% countervailing duties applicable to imports of e-bikes from GEV. GEV was represented in the proceedings by managing partner Philippe De Baere and senior associate, Joanna Redelbach. A copy of the judgments is available here and here.

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    • 29/04/2022
    • News

    Isabelle Van Damme and Aldo Scalini spoke on IBRAC’s panel discussing US and EU sanctions against Russia

    On 27 April 2022, Isabelle and Aldo participated in a panel on US and EU sanctions against Russia organized by IBRAC, the Brazilian Institute of Studies on Competition, Consumer Affairs and International Trade. Isabelle and Aldo spoke on the rationale and objectives of the EU sanctions and provided an overview of the sanctions adopted by the Council of the EU against Russia and Belarus in response to Russia's aggression against Ukraine. Further details can be found here.

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