Competition: Belgian law in Belgium

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contrast is frequently sought out by clients for assistance with merger control cases and distribution law issues. Illustrative of its standing in the market, it has appeared in most of the cartel cases and interim measures cases before the BCA. In one high-profile mandate, Herlinde Burez acted for HM Products in a BCA investigation into the client's pricing and distribution policy; this is only the second resale price maintenance case in Belgium. In another matter, Filip Tuytschaever is leading the advice to Global Champions Tour and Global Champions League on an investigation into anticompetitive practices in the equestrian industry. Tuytschaever jointly leads the practice with Frank Wijckmans, who recently acted for Belgian cinema group Kinepolis at the Brussels Court of Appeal in an attempt to have behavioural conditions abolished, which had been attached when the client was formed following a merger in 1997. Eline DeclerckKarolien Francken and Sarah Jaques made senior associates.

Practice head(s):

Filip Tuytschaever; Frank Wijckmans; Herlinde Burez

Other key lawyers:

Herlinde Burez; Maaike Visser; Anouk Focquet; Emmelie Wijckmans; Sébastien Engelen; Milena Varga; Eline Declerck; Karolien Francken; Sarah Jaques

Testimonials

Their knowledge of our business means that they can answer every question asked

The team is very down to earth and has a pragmatic approach. It is very supportive and communicative, which creates a very high level trust

Key clients

Global Champions Tour/League

Kinepolis

Alken-Maes

Volvo Trucks Belgium

Samsung Electronics

Benelux

The Cookware Company

Arvesta

Belgian Ministry of Economy

Greenyard

Cebeo (Sonepar group)

Work highlights

  • Is representing the Belgian Ministry of Economy (as an intervening party in support of the BCA) in an appeal filed by Proximus with the Brussels Court of Appeal. This relates to the decision of the BCA to impose a record fine of €66.3m on Proximus for an abuse of a dominant position.
  • Is representing Samsung Benelux in an appeal before the Brussels Court of Appeal over a claim brought by a trader based on an alleged refusal to supply and alleged parallel trade restrictions.
  • Represented a client in summary proceedings initiated by its direct competitor.
  • Is providing continued support to a client in relation to post-merger monitoring of commitments and network integration.
  • Represented a client in a BCA investigation into a competitor’s allegedly abusive conduct.

Covington & Burling LLP

Covington & Burling LLP has successfully positioned its practice as one of the leading in the market for Belgian competition law, with clients seeking out the firm for their most significant strategic M&A deals, conduct investigations and litigation. Practice head Johan Ysewyn and recently promoted special counsel Melissa Van Schoorisse represented Belgian cinema operator Euroscoop as the third party complainant at the Brussels Court of Appeal in the case concerning a request by Kinepolis to lift behavioural conditions connected with its merger. Another highlight saw Ysewyn and Van Schoorisse represent PSA Antwerp in two appeals against the BCA's dawn raids as part of an investigation into an alleged stevedoring cartel. State aid matters are another key pillar of the practice, with Ysewyn and senior adviser Sophie Bertin (a former DG Comp state aid official) leading the firm's work in this space. Associate Laura Corbett, who is another name to note, acts for clients across a wide range of industries, such as consumer goods, media and industrial materials, among many others.

Practice head(s):

Johan Ysewyn

Key clients

Amazon

Samsung Electronics

Microsoft

Facebook

Michelin

Air Products

Belgian Government

Bombardier

KBC

De Persgroep / Medialaan

Work highlights

  • Is advising PSA Antwerp on state aid (as well as abuse of dominance) issues in a number of parallel investigations and proceedings.

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP is heavily involved in high-profile Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) investigations and court litigation, as well as merger control cases. Its state aid work is also on the increase. Dirk Arts, who leads the team, has over 25 years of Belgian and European competition experience. He recently worked with the corporate group to advise Mediahuis on the competition aspects of the sale of its 50 percent stake in De Vijver Media to Telenet. In 2018, counsel Karel Bourgeois assisted Sumitomo with the competition (including state aid) issues associated with its investment in offshore wind farm Northwester 2.

Practice head(s):

Dirk Arts

Other key lawyers:

Karel Bourgeois

Testimonials

Dirk Arts is a great expert, but also a great partner to the business. He has a “soft” but determined approach to issues. He is one of the finest antitrust counsels in Europe

Key clients

Mediahuis

Roularta Media Group (RMG)

Otary (SeaMade)

Sumitomo Corporation

Tessenderlo Group

Immobel NV

Procter & Gamble

Belorta

Scania

Toyota

Venator

Work highlights

  • Advised Roularta Media Group (RMG) on all aspects (including competition issues) connected with its two-sided transaction with the Sanoma group, pursuant to which RMG acquired a portfolio of women’s and lifestyle magazines previously owned and published by Sanoma and, in exchange, sold its construction and renovation magazines to Sanoma.
  • Part of a cross-practice group, which advised Otary and SeaMade on the development of two new offshore wind farms to be built off the Belgian coast; this is the single largest wind farm project ever financed and built in Belgium.
  • Advised Immobel on its acquisition of Nafilyan & Partners, a major French residential property developer, from its founders and various investors. This included advising on the competition law aspects of the transaction.
  • Is acting for Scania in private damages actions in Belgium, which have arisen from the European Commission’s investigation into a cartel among European truck makers to increase prices of medium and heavy trucks.
  • Advised Tessenderlo Group, one of the founding partners of T-Power, on its acquisition of the remaining 80 percent of the shares of T-Power, giving it 100% ownership. The work included advice on the competition law aspects of the transaction.

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL has a strong profile in abuse of dominance and cartel investigations in Belgium, which has meant that it has been involved in areas such as stevedoring, fruit auctions and automotive financial services, among others. Its team is also adept in every other facet of competition law, including merger control, state aid and competition litigation. In 2018, a highlight involved Joost Haans and others acting for car dealership Cardoen on the competition aspects of its sale to Aramisauto. Another notable mandate saw Haans and associate Bram Hoorelbeke assist the seller with notifying the BCA about the sale of Ellis Gourmet Burger to GIMV and Top Brands; the transaction was unconditionally approved. Kurt Haegeman relocated to Tokyo in 2017, but divides time between there and Brussels, and remains a key adviser on Belgian competition matters.

Practice head(s):

Kurt Haegeman (Tokyo); Joost Haans (Brussels)

Other key lawyers:

Bram Hoorelbeke

Testimonials

The team has solid expertise and built excellent knowledge of our industry, company and its policies. It can rely on international capabilities and also proactively raises points of attention/new developments which are relevant for our company

Joost Haans has solid expertise and follows a practical approach at the same time

Key clients

D’Ieteren/Carglass

Domo Investment Group

Unilever Belgium

Ontex

FedEx

Pioneer Europe

Recticel

Cobelfret

TVH

IPM

Nyrstar

Brussels Airlines

Panasonic

Ergon Capital Partners

Joris Ide

Sodexo

Zespri

Barco

Philips

Korys

Work highlights

  • Acted for Octa + as the seller on its sale of certain Octa + petrol stations, which included advice to the client on the competition law aspects of the transaction, as well as the notification of the transaction to the Belgian competition authority. The deal was unconditionally approved.
  • Is representing Oracle in a request for a preliminary ruling from the Nederlandstalige rechtbank van eerste aanleg Brussel (Belgium) on state aid.
  • Acted for Cobelfret as the immunity applicant in the Stevedoring Services cartel investigation by the Belgian Competition Authority.

Eubelius

At EubeliusJan Bocken is particularly active in competition matters with a nexus to regulated sectors, such as the postal, broadcasting and public transport industries. He acted for VRT before the EU Commission and the Belgian Competition Authority (to which the case was referred) on the proposed acquisition by Liberty Global/Telenet of Belgian media company De Vijver Media. The practice is led by Hans Gilliams, who together with senior attorney Leen Goossens is representing 13 companies before the EU Court of Justice in the European Commission (EC)'s appeal of the General Court's decision to annul the EC's judgment on Belgian excess profit rulings. Elsewhere, the team advises clients on compliance issues, BCA investigations into anticompetitive practices, and the implementation of distribution systems and other cooperation arrangements. Senior attorney Stijn Goovaerts is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Hans Gilliams

Testimonials

Stijn Goovaerts is a rising star. Provides top notch advice

Key clients

bpost

SNCB / NMBS

British American Tobacco (Belgium)

VRT

Bancontact Payconiq Company

Belgian Federal Government

Febelfin

TUI Group

Havenbedrijf Antwerpen

Elopak

Skeyes (formerly Belgocontrol)

Brussels Airport Company

Work highlights

  • Is acting for bpost at the Brussels Court of Appeal, which has arisen from the BCA’s decision to fine the client €37.4m in 2016.
  • Is advising BNP Paribas Fortis, KBC, Belfius, ING and Bancontact Payconiq Company on a joint venture concerning an innovative mobile payment platform. The work includes advice on the competition aspects of the joint venture.
  • Assisted Vitol Bitumen Investments and Valt with obtaining clearance from the BCA of Vitol’s acquisition of sole control of Valt.
  • Acted for Immobel Urban Living on the acquisition of joint control over Urban Living Belgium by Immobel Urban Living and Triple Living, which included advice on the competition aspects.
  • Is acting for a client in a BCA investigation into its allegedly collusive practices with competitors.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Practice head(s):

Laurent Garzaniti; Thomas Janssens

Other key lawyers:

Tone Oeyen

Jones Day

Jones Day draws upon its multidisciplinary strengths and deep industry knowledge to advise blue-chip clients on a full range of Belgian competition issues. The team features prominently in high-profile matters and its work spans industries such as financial services, TMT, consumer goods and energy. Alexandre VerheydenSébastien Champagne and Laurence N. Van Mullem are acting for BT, Colt and a US-based telecoms operator in three separate damages claims over an alleged abuse of dominance by Belgacom Mobile. On the merger control side, Verheyden and recently promoted partner Laurent De Muyter acted for Société Régionale d'Investissement de Wallonie on the Wanty group's acquisition of Wallonian construction company Ronveaux. Elsewhere, the group's workload also comprises of state aid cases and behavioural investigations. Yvan Desmedt and Charlotte Breuvart are other key figures in the team, which is jointly led by Verheyden and Bernard Amory.

Practice head(s):

Alexandre Verheyden; Bernard Amory

Testimonials

Jones Day has an excellent team, both at partner and associate level, which is available around the clock, demonstrates excellent legal skills and produces quality documents

Alexandre Verheyden thinks out of the box, keeping always in mind the business angle for his clients while being an excellent lawyer from a technical perspective

The team demonstrates a great willingness and aptitude to understand the business in all its subtleties

Charlotte Breuvart is a hardworking, discrete and very competent lawyer

Key clients

BT

Colt

Fluxys

Mastercard

Newpharma

Société Régionale d’Investissement de Wallonie

Suez

Telenet / Liberty Global

Work highlights

  • Is advising Telenet/Liberty Global in relation to cable access for competitors.
  • Is advising Belgian online pharmacy Newpharma on several contentious matters concerning online pharmacy sales, including a claim before the BCA against the Belgian Chamber of Pharmacists for anticompetitive practices, as well as a claim before the BCA against beauty products manufacturer Caudalie.

Stibbe

Stibbe has a first-rate reputation in cartel and abuse of dominance investigations brought by the BCA, as well as merger control matters. In addition, competition litigation is a forte of the practice. Practice head Peter Wytinck has a standout reputation for competition-related damages claims, having featured in a number of landmark cases. He also advises EU institutions in public procurement matters and is active in the state aid space. Wytinck and of counsel Tom Ruys are part of the team which is defending the Port of Antwerp in a state aid investigation and various court proceedings arising from its decision to grant a reduction on the compensation owed by PSA and Antwerp Gateway for not meeting minimum tonnage requirements. Wytinck and Ruys also represented Belgian Travel Organisation and Thomas Cook in two separate cartel investigations in Belgium. Senior associate Delphine Gillet is another recommended individual in the group.

Practice head(s):

Peter Wytinck

Other key lawyers:

Tom Ruys; Delphine Gillet

Testimonials

I like working with Peter Wytinck because he is straightforward and to the point. He also has a great sense of humour

Key clients

Sibelco

Schindler

Port of Antwerp

Bosch

Tessenderlo Chemie

Thomas Cook

MAN

Bekaert

D’Ieteren

Orbix

Metro/Makro

Port of Zeebrugge

VGG

Norkring

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Port of Zeebrugge and the Port of Antwerp in the European Commission’s pan-European investigation into possible state aid issues regarding the taxation regime applicable to ports.
  • Successfully assisted VGG, a Dutch landowners association, with applying for the annulment of a state aid decision by the European Commission at the General Court.
  • Is assisting Everaerts with competition law infringement and damages claims.
  • Is assisting solar glass producer Ducatt and its main shareholders with state aid investigations launched by the European Commission, which has started a complex and in depth investigation into the investments of several investment funds in Ducatt.
  • Is representing several entities of the MAN group in lawsuits before the Belgian courts, which have arisen from the European Commission’s decision to fine certain truck makers for their alleged involvement in a cartel.

Van Bael & Bellis

Van Bael & Bellis features prominently in all areas of Belgian competition law, with a particular strength in highly sensitive investigations. In a recent highlight, Peter L’Ecluse led a team, including associates Eléonore Waterkeyn  and Valérie Lefever, which defended two national meteorological services against allegations of abusive conduct in relation to the supply of meteorological data. Another key figure is Martin Favart, who is representing Belgian consumer association Test-Achats in the BCA's investigation into allegedly anticompetitive agreeements/practices by two leading pharmaceutical companies related to drugs used to treat an age-related eye disease. The firm's other work for clients includes follow-on damages actions and competition-related appeals, distribution, licensing and use of intellectual property rights, and assistance with merger reviews.

Practice head(s):

Peter L’Ecluse

Key clients

Coca-Cola European Partners

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)

Koninklijk Meteorologisch Instituut/Institut Royal Météorologique

Météo-France

Mitsui Group

Nethys

Safran Group

Test-Achats

Work highlights

  • Is representing the DAF group and Paccar group companies on all their damages claims following on from the Commission’s settlement decision in relation to a cartel in the trucks industry.
  • Acted for Nethys, one of Belgium’s major cable networks, in various cases associated with the opening of cable networks for the provision of broadband and broadcasting services.

ALTIUS

ALTIUS advises clients on all aspects of Belgian antitrust proceedings, and it also attracts a strong flow of merger control work, both through its corporate practice and from referrals from international law firms. Carmen Verdonck heads up the team, whose workload also covers state aid, advice on horizontal and vertical cooperation agreements, and IP-related competition matters. Reflective of the growth of the practice, the firm has won work from a significant number of new clients, including Aurelius, Beiersdorf and UCI. Working with dispute resolution partner Alexander Hansebout, Verdonck and senior associate Beatrijs Gielen are representing Siemens in follow-on damages claims filed by Infrabel in connection with the BCA's decision to fine five companies for an alleged cartel over a public contract awarded by Infrabel. Verdonck is also acting for UK-based company PACE Rights Management LLP at the Court of Appeal of Brussels in an abuse of dominance case against Belgian collecting society SABAM. Senior associate Hanne Baeyens is a recent hire from CMS.

Practice head(s):

Carmen Verdonck

Other key lawyers:

Beatrijs Gielen; Hanne Baeyens

Testimonials

The head of the team, Carmen Verdonck, has significant experience. She is supported by a strong team, which includes Beatrijs Gielen. The team is involved in the most high profile cases before the Belgian and EU courts

Carmen Verdonck quickly and thoroughly understands the issues raised in cases. She is also very pleasant to work with, and has a good sense of humour. Beatrijs Gielen is extremely clever

The competition team at Altius is very knowledgeable and has a firm grasp on how businesses are confronted with competition issues, and how to solve them. They guide you all along the way

Carmen Verdonck is the lawyer to go to

Key clients

CRH

LBC Tank Terminals

Campine

CNH

Pace Rights Management Plc

Royal Canin

Essilor

UCI

Bolton Group

Siemens

Broadcast Partners

Beiersdorf

Aurelius

Work highlights

  • Represented Campine before the General Court in appeal proceedings against the EC’s decision in the Car Battery recycling case.
  • Represented Broadcast Partners in abuse of dominance cases against Norkring in relation to access to antenna towers for FM broadcasting.
  • Is representing Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) in proceedings before the Belgian Competition Authority over cyclocross broadcasting rights.
  • Is acting for showjumper Lisa Nooren and horse stable, Henk Nooren Handelsstal SPRL, in a complaint with and request for interim measures from the BCA over the invitation rules to the GLOBAL 5 Star show jumping events.
  • Advises the Agency for Nature and Forestry on state aid related issues.

Ashurst LLP

Ashurst LLP's track record of handling high-profile and complex Belgian competition law matters has enabled it to develop a sizeable portfolio of longstanding clients, which includes names such as Apax Partners, Colgate, Engie Electrabel and Tetra Laval/Tetra Pak. In 2018, Annick Vroninks acted for Imperial Tobacco Group in an Article 101 TFEU (and its national equivalent) investigation into the tobacco industry in Belgium. Another standout practitioner is experienced litigator Denis Waelbroeck, who is representing UEFA in court proceedings in Belgium over the compatibility with EU law of Financial Fair Play and Third Party Ownership rules. Alexandre Vandencasteele acts for clients across multiple industries, such as energy, consumer goods and chemical products. Denis Fosselard is the head of the team.

Practice head(s):

Denis Fosselard

Testimonials

The firm works efficiently and quickly adapts to the relevant sector

Sharp, persistent legal minds. Pleasant people to work with

Key clients

Althea Group

Apax Partners

CBR (HeidelbergCement)

Colgate

Costa Crociere

DP World

Dupont de Nemours

Engie Electrabel

Eni

Gabriels

Generali

Imperial Tobacco

INEOS

Pirelli

Renewi

Tetra Laval/Tetra Pak

Total (Marketing Services)

UEFA

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended Cimenteries CBR (a HeidelbergCement subsidiary) in appeal proceedings against a 2013 decision of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) imposing fines on three cement manufacturers and the Belgian cement industry association for alleged unlawful concerted practices in the context of standardisation procedures for the use of granulated slag as a cement substitute in the production of ready-mix concrete.
  • Acted for petrol company Gabriels on the notification in Belgium of its acquisition of oil company Power.
  • Assisted CBR with the competition law aspects of the acquisition of an aggregate business from Carmeuse.

CMS

CMS' domestic Belgian competition law practice complements its broader European competition law offering, making it a strong choice for advice on areas such as state aid and merger control. It is also highly active in Belgian investigations into abuses of dominance and cartels, as well as follow-on damages actions. Dirk Van Liedekerke is highly reputed for his work in the technology, media and communications arena. He was one of the key team members acting for Norkring in several sets of court proceedings against VRT and Broadcast Partners over access to its broadcast infrastructure for the transmission of VRT’s FM radio signals. He is also advising Proximus as a third party complainant on Telenet's proposed acquisition of sole control of De Vijver Media. Elsewhere, the practice stands out for its strengths in the air transport and railway sectors, with Annabelle Lepièce being the key contact in these areas. Its workload also spans various other industries.

Practice head(s):

Annabelle Lepièce; Dirk Van Liedekerke

Testimonials

The team is a business-enabler and capable of intervening in a very short time. Advice provided by the team is valuable and straight to the point

Key clients

BICS

Proximus

FIFA

Thalys International

Medi-Market

Honeywell

Belgian State

AMP

Delhaize

Spaque

Work highlights

  • Acted for FIFA in the Diarra litigation in the Belgian courts (currently pending with the Court of Appeal of Mons) on the compatibility of several principles of the FIFA players’ transfer rules (rules on arbitration and on co-liability of new club in case of unilateral termination of agreement by the player with his former club) with the competition and free movement rules.
  • Is representing FIFA in the Doyen Sports/Seraing cases (both in the Brussels and Liège courts) on the legality of the FIFA prohibition on third party ownership in the context of sanctions that have been imposed on RFC Seraing (transfer prohibition for several transfer windows).
  • Represented the Brussels Region in proceedings before the tribunal of first instance on illegal State aid offered to Bruxelles-Propreté (a public agency responsible for collecting and processing waste in Brussels). Private recycling companies contesting the public funding from the Region launched the case.
  • Assisted Société Générale with obtaining clearance from the BCA of the sale of Société Générale Private Banking Belgium (a wholly-owned subsidiary) to ABN AMRO.
  • Advised a client on a suspected case of bid-rigging for its major contracts.

Crowell & Moring

Crowell & Moring, whose practice is led by Thomas De Meese, is active in competition matters across a wide range of industries. It has a particularly standout reputation in the telecommunications and media sector; clients in this space include names such as Telenet and Liberty Global. The firm also undertakes a significant amount of work for entities in the gambling industry. Practice head Thomas De Meese has vast expertise in BCA merger reviews, as well as investigations into abuses of dominance and cartels. De Meese works closely with senior counsel Jules Stuyck and counsel Karl Stas. Recent highlights included assisting AB InBev with a BCA investigation into its proposed takeover of Brouwerij Bosteels (owner of the brands Triple Karmeliet and Kwak). Together with the intellectual property team, the competition group is also representing the Federation of Flemish Music Festivals in litigation against copyright collective society SABAM over the collection of unreasonably high royalties.

Practice head(s):

Thomas De Meese

Other key lawyers:

Jules Stuyck; Karl Stas

Key clients

Telenet

Anheuser Busch Inbev

Unibet

Liberty Global

Federation of Flemish Music Festivals

Zorgnet-Icuro

Work highlights

  • Is acting for Telenet as a defendant in a BCA investigation into the conditions relating to the acquisition of exclusive broadcasting rights on cyclocross races.
  • Acted for Liberty Global in proceedings over its attempt to obtain clearance for its acquisition of sole control of broadcaster De Vijver Media.
  • Is advising Zorgnet-Icuro (Flemish federation of hospitals) and its members on the competition law implications of legislation which obliges the hospitals to form networks, limits the types of care each hospital can offer and oblige them to refer patients to each other.
  • Is advising a client on various competition law matters, including the setting up partnerships and distribution issues.
  • Is advising a client on various competition law matters, including data collection and parallel trade.

DALDEWOLF

DALDEWOLF's practice, which is led by Pierre Goffinet, offers clients a combination of competition, economics and regulatory expertise across a wide range of issues. Active in the full range of matters, the group is particularly knowledgeable about issues with a nexus to regulated network industries, such as postal services, energy, telecoms, health, rail and insurance, among others. State aid expert Carole Maczkovics is representing a client in court litigation concerning the provision of a tax reduction to a competitor.  In another matter, Goffinet acted for a client as a third party in matters before the European Commission, the Belgian Competition Authority and the Belgian regulatory authority over the potential anticompetitive effects of a merger. Thierry Bontinck is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Pierre Goffinet

Other key lawyers:

Carole Maczkovics; Thierry Bontinck

Testimonials

Pierre Goffinet stands out because of his knowledge, immediate feedback, ability to put difficult concepts into understandable words, and clear and challenging questions

Pierre Goffinet is able to review economic data in depth and simplify it

Work highlights

  • Acted for a client in its submission of a full leniency application to the BCA.
  • Acted for a client in its submission of a summary leniency application to the BCA (based on a full leniency submitted to the European Commission).
  • Acted for a client in a BCA investigation into vertical restrictions/abuse of dominance.
  • Assisted a client with pursuing cartel damages claims in Belgium.

Deprevernet

deprevernet is well-known for its work for the BCA. The firm has acted as its preferred counsel since the competition authority was established in 2013 and the scope of the work includes Market Court appeals and advice on procedural issues. Grégoire Ryelandt and Evrard de Lophem jointly head up the practice, which also undertakes a significant amount of work for private sector clients. The team has a notably strong capability in abuse of dominance cases, particularly those involving industries such as energy, telecoms and postal services. Elsewhere, the team has a wealth of expertise in merger control, state aid and issues connected with horizontal/vertical agreements. Ryelandt, de Lophem, Philippe Vernet, associate Tinne Wouters  and others are acting for Dossche on the competition law aspects of its contemplated acquisition of Ceres. The team is also representing SABAM in its appeal against a first instance decision that it abused its dominant position (as the only collecting society in Belgium) by unilaterally increasing fees at concerts and festivals.

Practice head(s):

Grégoire Ryelandt; Evrard de Lophem

Other key lawyers:

Philippe Vernet; Tinne Wouters

Testimonials

Grégoire Ryelandt has managed to build up the team and reputation of the firm within a short period of time. We trust him with all our Belgian competition work, given his knowledge and professional approach

The team is highly responsive and has excellent knowledge of the law and of the market’

Grégoire Ryelandt is very business-oriented and always finds innovative solutions tailored specifically to the client’s needs. He has great knowledge of how the market operates and is experienced in working with businesses

Grégoire Ryelandt combines good technical knowledge with a proactive attitude, giving necessary comfort to clients handling technical competition matters

deprevernet is definitively one of the most influential law firms in Belgium for competition law. It has a strong link with the Belgian Competition Authority and unique expertise in cases about abuses of dominant positions, particularly in the telecommunications arena. Its experience and knowledge about the procedural aspects of Belgian competition law both before the Authority and before the Market Court makes it a really strong and useful law firm

Key clients

Henkel Benelux

Belgian Competition Authority

SABAM

Dossche Mills

CRC – Conférence des Régulateurs des Communications électroniques

IBPT – Institut Belge des Postes et Télécommunications

SOWAER – Société Wallonne des aéroports

FEBIAC – Fédération Automobile de l’Industrie Automobile et du Cycle

Ministry of Economy

Provinciale Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij West-Vlaanderen

Work highlights

  • Assisted the IBPT (telecoms regulator) with the competition law and state aid aspects of a public-private partnership for the development of a 5G network in Flanders.
  • Acted for the CRC (the conference of the regulators of telecommunications) in the appeal by Telenet, Nethys and Brutélé of the client’s decision to impose regulatory obligations on several telecom operators.
  • Is representing the BCA at the Market Court in an appeal by the Ordre des Pharmaciens (ODP) against the Authority’s decision to impose a fine of €1 million because of the ODP’s actions to hinder MediMarket’s entry into the Belgian pharmacy market.
  • Is representing the BCA in an appeal by several movie theatres against the Authority’s decision to withdraw some commitments imposed on Kinepolis in 1997.
  • Is advising POM West-Vlaanderen on the state aid aspects of subsidies for a number of research and development projects.

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick's practice was recently strengthened by the arrival of Vincent Mussche from Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL. Mussche has over 15 years of Belgian and European competition law experience, which includes advising clients on merger filings, cartel investigations and the development and implementation of compliance programmes. He works with Stefaan Raes, who is a former president of the Competition Council, and has formerly served as a judge of both the Brussels Court of First Instance and Brussels Court of Appeal. The excellent competition offering benefits from support from ancillary areas, such as tax, regulatory, commercial and litigation and arbitration. The firm has a strong track record in cases before the Belgian Competition Authority and DG COMP (related to the Belgian market), as well as private enforcement cases before the Belgian Courts. In one matter, Raes and Simone Nudelholc are representing Proximus at the Belgian Supreme Court in a damages action against Telenet and former cable network operators over the assignment of network rights to Telenet. Raes and others also defended Facebook at the Brussels Court of Appeal in an action brought by the Belgian Privacy Commission over the use of cookies.

Practice head(s):

Stefaan Raes

Other key lawyers:

Vincent Mussche

Testimonials

The team has sufficient resources, excellent knowledge of the regulations and a lot of experience

In addition to being very knowledgeable, the team’s way of working is very hands-on and pragmatic. It listens to its clients

Key clients

Mundipharma

AEG Belgium (Vinci Group), presently called Tranzcom

Raffinerie Tirlemontoise

Single Resolution Board

Multipharma

ECHA (European Chemicals Agency)

Uber

Proximus (ex-Belgacom)

Facebook

Welcoop

Veolia

Lidl Belgium

Orange Belgium

DP World (Antwerp Gateway)

Global Champions Tour BV

ABB Industrial Solutions

Duvel Moortgat

FeBeD (Federatie van Belgische Drankenhandelaars)

Provera (Cora)

EFSA (European Food Safety Authority)

BFFA (Belgian Federation of Football Agents)

IVECO

VOFTP (Vereniging van Onafhankelijke Film- en Televisieproducenten

Nationale Kamer Gerechtsdeurwaarders

Instituut Gelijkheid Vrouwen en Mannen

Work highlights

  • Is defending Uber in all litigation before the Belgian courts over Uber Pop and Uber X.
  • Is acting for Multipharma in a complaint before the Belgian Competition Authority against the Professional Order of Pharmacists.
  • Is representing the Belgian affiliate of ABB in an action for interim measures before the Belgian Competition Authority and an action for a cease and desist order before the President of the Enterprise Court in Ghent. It is also handling an abuse of dominance investigation by the Belgian Competition Authority.
  • Defended Global Champions Tour, organiser of jumping events, in an action for interim measures before the Belgian Competition Authority and the Brussels Court of appeal over the admission rules for these events.
  • Is defending Tranzcom, which was found by the Belgian Competition Authority to have participated in a bid-rigging cartel, in a private lawsuit brought by Infrabel.

Linklaters

Linklaters' Belgian competition law work is a key part of its global competition practice, with the firm specialising in complex, strategically significant mandates. Led by Gerwin Van Gerven, the team excels in all types of matters, including investigations into abuses of dominance and cartels, merger reviews and state aid cases. Xavier Taton is another key partner in the group. Also recommended are of counsels Bernard van de Walle de Ghelcke and Francesca Crotti, and managing associate Isabel Rooms.

Practice head(s):

Gerwin Van Gerven

Key clients

Electrabel

Engie

UGC

Quinz

Quinz focuses on competition-related investigations and litigation, as well as advisory work in relation to behavioural practices (including restrictive agreements and abuses of dominance) and state aid. The firm has a particularly strong reputation in the life sciences sector, although it also generates work from clients in other industries, such as insurance and consumer goods. It was recently included on Novartis’ panel for competition law matters and advises UCB on competition law issues in relation to vertical and horizontal research and development agreements. Olivier Van ObberghenBenoît Allemeersch and Pieter Wyckmans jointly lead the practice. Counsel Wim De Meester is another notable individual.

Practice head(s):

Olivier Van Obberghen; Benoît Allemeersch; Pieter Wyckmans

Other key lawyers:

Wim De Meester

Testimonials

Wim De Meester quickly grasps complex issues and provides actionable advice. He is excellent

Key clients

Febelco

Novartis

AG Insurance

Roche

Casen Recordati

Johnson & Johnson

UCB

Dyson

Takeda

Horeca Vlaanderen

Work highlights

  • Provided AG Insurance with competition law advice in order to enable it to implement several commercial strategies. Highlights included assisting the client with setting up a strategic partnership with Touring and BNP Paribas Fortis, as well as establishing a strategic partnership with Hagelunie.
  • Febelco’s exclusive advisor on a wide range of competition matters, such as those relating to pricing strategies and exclusivity agreements with suppliers and customers.
  • Provided Novartis with dawn raid advice and training.
  • Has advised Roche on a broad range of competition issues which are intrinsic to its market position. In addition, it has has been appointed as Roche’s counsel in case of dawn raids.