Baker McKenzie represented RUAG International, a defense company in Switzerland, in an antitrust case before the European Commission. The proceedings pertained to allegations of market sharing in the hand grenades sector in the EU.
After internal discovery of the infringement, RUAG International promptly filed a successful leniency application. The proceedings were terminated efficiently and swiftly by after a settlement process.
The case was the first cartel prosecuted by the European Commission in the defense sector. An on-site inspection of one undertaking was also conducted, which is not a matter of course especially in the defense sector.
Baker McKenzie advised on all legal aspects of the proceedings.
"With our experienced antitrust team, we were able to support RUAG International in these proceedings and jointly achieved that no fine was imposed on our client. Our thanks goes to the RUAG International teams involved for their trust and very good cooperation, as well as to the European Commission team, which handled this case particularly quickly and with impressive professionalism," commented Nicolas Kredel, Head of Baker McKenzie's German Antitrust Practice Group and Global Chair of the Industrials Manufacturing and Transportation Industry Group, on the successful outcome of the case.
Although leniency is a central building block of cartel prosecution, the number of leniency applications are currently on the decline. Successful settlement proceedings are also relatively rare. In the three years 2020-2022 the Commission reported only eight decisions following a settlement.
Baker McKenzie's German antitrust team regularly advises on complex antitrust proceedings before the European Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office, as well as on merger control and EU Foreign Subsidies Regulation in domestic and international transactions. Among others, Baker McKenzie advised Carlsberg in the OLG proceedings regarding the beer cartel, Mercedes-Benz with regard to the allegation of a cartel in steel purchasing, Fluidra in the acquisition of the Meranus Group , in a Phase II merger control proceeding before the German FCO, Sika in numerous, highly complex merger control proceedings in the successful acquisition of the MBCC Group, and Deutsche Glasfaser with regard to a joint venture in the fiber optics sector between Deutsche Telekom and EWE. The team also advises numerous national and multinational companies on global antitrust compliance, and on antitrust damages litigation.
Baker McKenzie's Antitrust & Competition practice group is one of the largest antitrust teams in the world, with more than 300 antitrust specialists in over 40 countries. For many years, the team has been holding, and continues to hold, leading positions in the key rankings for global antitrust counsel.
Legal advisor to RUAG:
Antitrust & Competition: Nicolas Kredel (partner, Dusseldorf)
Antitrust & Competition: Anika Schürmann (partner, Dusseldorf), Markus Mossmann, Pia König (both associates, Dusseldorf)
Public Law: Katharina Weiner (counsel, Dusseldorf)