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The Brattle Group’s competition experts work with clients in the private and public sector on a full range of competitive, regulatory, and commercial issues that arise in European markets. We regularly provide expert testimony in market investigations and competition cases throughout Europe and before the European Commission. We have also advised on major mergers and joint ventures in the region.

In antitrust and competition investigations and merger review processes, Brattle economists provide sophisticated econometric analyses of complex data sets, application of simulation models for use in predicting the effects of alleged anticompetitive conduct, and development and refinement of cutting-edge economic arguments relating to exclusionary behavior and cost-raising strategies.

Our experts also evaluate the competitive impacts of mergers and acquisitions, identify key competitive issues, and conduct qualitative and quantitative analyses of the likely impacts on prices and other market features. Our experience spans both horizontal and vertical transactions, including the formulation of mitigation measures if the competitive analyses do not satisfy “safe harbor” thresholds.

We have worked with a variety of clients in Europe, including competition authorities and antitrust enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Ireland, France, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

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Engagements
REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTS

Below is a list of representative engagements for our European Competition practice.

Merger in European oil market

Brattle advised Nynas, a European specialty oils manufacturer, in the analysis of competition issues arising from its acquisition of an oil refinery from Shell. We assisted Nynas throughout the Phase II EC investigation that entailed defining the relevant geographic and product markets by analyzing the relative price movements of specialty oils in different geographic markets and between naphthenic and paraffinic substitutes. Application of the “small but significant and non-transitory increase in price” (SSNIP) test to the identified markets indicated that our client could not maintain a 10% price increase after the acquisition, as refineries in Europe could profitably compete within that price range, and customers would have incentive to switch to alternative oil products. Our analysis was presented to the European Commission which cleared the merger, without remedies, following an in-depth Phase II investigation.

CMA investigations of competition in GB energy markets and retail banking
Brattle economists advised a large European energy company and a large financial institution throughout investigations of competition conducted by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) during 2014 to 2016. We worked in partnership with the client and their legal counsel in responding to CMA assessments of competition, including assessments of unilateral and coordinated market power; reviewing companies’ pricing strategies; reviewing analysis of consumer switching behavior and gains from switching; and, for energy, responding to the CMA’s assessments of costs and profitability in generation and supply comprising detailed margin analysis.
EC investigation of alleged collusion in FOREX markets
Brattle assisted a global investment bank in connection with an EC investigation of alleged collusion to manipulate foreign exchange benchmarks during 2008-2012. We provided guidance on the appropriate basis for calculation of fines.
Alleged manipulation of LIBOR
Advised a global investment bank on the alleged manipulation of the LIBOR benchmark in private litigation brought in the UK Commercial Court. The claimant alleged that the bank manipulated the benchmark LIBOR rate in order to increase payments to the bank from the LIBOR-linked loan and swap arrangements sold to the claimant. The investigation involved detailed economic analysis of causes of movements in the LIBOR benchmark, the extent of possible coordination between LIBOR rate-setters, and the relationship between LIBOR and key macroeconomic variables over the period of the loan and swap arrangements and the key re-set dates.
EC state aid investigation
Brattle provided economic analysis in support of Alro, an aluminium producer, in connection with an EC state aid investigation of the price of electricity in a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with Hidroelectrica, a state owned electricity generator in Romania. Our analysis entailed detailed financial and electricity market modelling to determine but-for market prices and profitability, absent the PPA. Following an in-depth investigation, the European Commission concluded that the electricity supply contract did not constitute State Aid. In its decision, the Commission referred to the “ample and comprehensive studies prepared by the Brattle Group in support of their arguments according to which the agreement with Hidroelectrica did not involve any state aid.”
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