50:50 joint ventures — possibility of parental liability for EU antitrust infringements confirmed

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The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has issued two important judgments in which it confirms that a parent company can be held liable and fined by the European Commission for the antitrust infringements of its 50:50 joint venture in the EU.

The judgments endorse the European Commission’s current hardened approach of attributing antitrust liability, wherever possible, to parent companies. This approach maximises the level of fines by enabling the European Commission to avail itself of a higher maximum fine limit based not just on the turnover of the subsidiary itself but of the entire corporate group.

It also enhances the risk of a finding of recidivism (if different parts of the same corporate group have been involved in competition law infringements in the past) and claims for civil damages in the EU…

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