Competition: Belgian law in Belgium

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contrast's heavyweight team has featured in most of the cartel investigations brought by the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA), as well as the majority of interim measures cases. In addition, it also features prominently in abuse of dominance matters and merger reviews. Frank WijckmansFilip Tuytschaever and Herlinde Burez jointly lead the highly regarded group, which has longstanding relationships with blue-chip clients such as Kinepolis Group and Arvesta Group. The team also includes Emmelie WijckmansMilena Varga and Sébastien Engelen, who were promoted to counsel in 2020. Stefanie Colaers made senior associate. In an ongoing matter, Tuytschaever and Engelen are representing the Belgian Ministry of Economy as an intervening party in an appeal brought by Proximus over the BCA's decision to impose a fine for an alleged abuse of a dominant position.

Practice head(s):

Frank Wijckmans; Filip Tuytschaever; Herlinde Burez

Other key lawyers:

Sébastien Engelen; Emmelie Wijckmans; Milena Varga; Stefanie Colaers

Testimonials

We are used to working with Filip Tuytschaever and Stefanie Colaers. They both have a strong knowledge of our business and of course of the competition law domain. They are always on standby for their clients and easy to reach. They both are very responsive, hands-on and very pragmatic.

Good diversity, lots of female lawyers. The billing is transparent.

The team is very hands-on, to the point, high expertise and no-nonsense, no panic approach; offering solutions on the way forward, instead of creating memos with no solution. Also on a strategic level, their advice is extremely useful. Reasonable fees in proportion to the quality of work. Frank Wijckmans is outstanding and easily reachable, although very busy.

Frank Wijckmans is a very skilled but at the same time down to earth lawyer. A real expert in his field of expertise. He has an impressive knowledge of all things competition and antitrust in a broad sense. He combines this with a very practical and pragmatic approach and strong business acumen.

Very high quality work and involved team at very fair rates.

Very thorough knowledge and perfect cooperation within the requested time limits.

Key clients

Kinepolis Group

Orange Belgium NV

Belgian Ministry of Economy

Foodinvest

Volvo Trucks Belgium

Eleven Sports

Arvesta Group (former AVEVE Group)

SBS

Samsung Benelux

Work highlights

  • Assisted Kinepolis with an attempt to have behavioural conditions linked to concentration abolished. The firm was able to bring the Kinepolis case to a successful close, with it having lasted for 22 years. Kinepolis was continuously confronted with opposition from major international groups and the case had to be appealed no less than three times in order to take it to its resolution.
  • Representing Orange Belgium in the interim measures case and ongoing investigation by the Belgian Competition Authority into the strategic joint venture between Orange Belgium and Proximus for the roll-out of 5G in Belgium.
  • Representing two professional football clubs (Waasland Beveren – represented by its main shareholder Foodinvest – and Royal Excelsior Virton) in their legal proceedings against the Belgian football league and the national federation. These cases respectively concern the decision to relegate the last team in the league table while the season was prematurely stopped due to the Covid-19 crisis, and the decision not to grant a professional licence.

Covington & Burling LLP

Covington & Burling LLP has an outstanding reputation in landmark and high-stakes competition litigation and behavioural investigations. It also acts as antitrust counsel in business-critical merger reviews, even where other firms handle the corporate work. The practice is led by Johan Ysewyn, who is the chair of the Belgian Competition Lawyers Association. In 2019, he worked with special counsel Melissa Van Schoorisse to assist Plukon Food Group BV with obtaining BCA approval of its €4m acquisition of assets of Pluimveeslachterij Lammens NV. Van Schoorisse is particularly noted for her strong track record in Belgian and EU cartel investigations spanning areas such as stevedoring and transport, supermarkets, fruit and industrial batteries.

Practice head(s):

Johan Ysewyn

Other key lawyers:

Melissa Van Schoorisse; Daniel Muheme

Testimonials

Johan Ysewyn and his team have been involved in numerous high-profile domestic competition law cases in Belgium. This gives them an excellent knowledge of the specificities of Belgian competition law, on material and procedural aspects. A great strength of this team is its ability to seize all opportunities to build a credible case for their clients, where other law firms wouldn’t believe in the matter.

Johan Ysewyn gives everything for each matter. He is truly involved in all matters and his assertiveness is a great value add in each matter.

Key clients

PSA Antwerp/MPET

DPG Media (Formerly De Persgroep and Medialaan)

Fluxys Belgium SA

Fluvius

The Belgian Government

European Tissue Symposium

Euroscoop

Plukon

Herbalife

Carmeuse

Group Fero

Heylen Group

Work highlights

  • Acting for PSA Antwerp on a transaction with the Polish Development Fund (PFR) (in Polish: Polski Fundusz Rozwoju) and IFM Investors, valued at approximately €1.17bn, to acquire control over a container terminal in Gdansk port.
  • Representing Euroscoop in two successful appeals against consecutive commitment decisions by the BCA. The firm was the first to win an appeal against a decision of the new BCA, in the original Euroscoop/Kinepolis case.
  • Represented stevedoring company PSA Antwerp in its successful appeal against the dawn raids of the BCA in the alleged stevedoring cartel and also led the case before the Supreme Court. The outcome of the case was that the BCA in 2019 dropped all charges.

Stibbe

Stibbe acts on around a third of merger control cases opened in Belgium each year. In addition, the firm has been able to capture a large share of interim measures cases involving the Belgian competition authorities. It also has a significant number of cartel investigations in its work portfolio. Peter Wytinck leads the team, which includes Sophie Van Besien (who joined from bpost in December 2019) and recently promoted counsel Delphine Gillet. Wytinck and others represented the Port of Antwerp in proceedings arising from its decision to grant a reduction on compensation due by PSA and Antwerp Gateway because they did not meet the minimum tonnage requirements that the port had previously determined for container operators at Deurganck dock.

Practice head(s):

Peter Wytinck

Other key lawyers:

Sophie Van Besien; Delphine Gillet

Key clients

The University Hospital of Leuven

The Hospital of Aalst

The Hospital of Groeninge

The Hospital of Waregem

The Hospital of Ronse

The Maria Middelares Hospital of Ghent

The Sint-Elisabeth Hospital of Zottegem

The Belgian football association

Providence Equity Partners

Schindler

Sibelco

Tessenderlo Chemie

The Port of Antwerp and the Port of Zeebrugge

D’Ieteren

Metro/Makro

Bekaert

MAN (trucks)

Work highlights

  • Advising a large number of hospitals, following an investigation into a possible abuse of dominance and/or illegal cartel behavior of a pharmaceutical company. The investigation is being conducted by the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA). The large-scale investigation was carried forward due to an alleged restriction of market access for producers of two biosimilar products competing with a licensed drug. The firm is also assisting a large number of hospitals in a second investigation by the BCA, but into different practices and against different companies.
  • Defending the Port of Antwerp in a state aid investigation by the European Commission, annulment proceedings before the Council of State (administrative court) and arbitration proceedings before the national courts and damage claims cases in national courts, merger control filings, etc.
  • Assisting GIMV with the merger filing for its acquisition of a minority stake in Televic, an innovative communication technology group with a large international presence. The firm did a multijurisdictional merger assessment to verify in which jurisdictions the merger needed to be notified and obtained the required merger control approvals.

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP has developed a reputation as one of the go-to firms for high-profile Belgian competition matters, under the leadership of practice head Dirk Arts, who has 25 years of experience in this area. In addition to being a key adviser on the Belgian antitrust and regulatory aspects of M&A, clients turn to the firm in cartel investigations and abuse of dominance cases, as well as competition-related litigation. The firm acts for clients in a wide range of sectors, with particular strengths in areas such as media, chemicals, energy, consumer goods and industrial. Karel Bourgeois joined Crowell & Moring.

Practice head(s):

Dirk Arts

Testimonials

Very devoted team with a good understanding of our business. Matters at hand are very technically complicated.

CMS

CMS' team is experienced in handling the full range of transactional and behavioural work, and has notable expertise in issues concerning the pharmaceutical, aviation and electronic communications sectors. State aid work is one of the many strong suits of the practice; Annabelle Lepièce is representing the Belgian state in various state aid investigations and proceedings, and related tax matters. Illustrative of her broad practice, she also represented Medi-Market in its complaint before the BCA over alleged competition infringements by the Belgian Order of pharmacists. Dirk Van Liedekerke has expertise in the interplay between EU/Belgian competition law and telecoms law.

Practice head(s):

Annabelle Lepièce; Dirk Van Liedekerke

Key clients

Proximus

Boulanger

Medi-Market

Thalys International

FIFA

Brussels Region

Luxair

KBC

STIB

Work highlights

  • Assisted French group Boulanger with the acquisition of Krëfel group, the domestic and electrical appliances retailer active in both Belgium (74 stores) and Luxembourg (11 stores).
  • Assisting and representing Proximus in the different ongoing (competition law) investigations regarding the RAN-sharing mobile network agreement that it has concluded with Orange Belgium.
  • 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 the sportive sanctions that have been imposed on football club Seraing. The FIFA rules concerned were challenged under EU competition and free movement rules, and the case also involved several aspects of complaints filed with the European Commission. The Brussels Court of Appeal rejected all claims brought against FIFA on 12 December 2019.

Crowell & Moring

Crowell & Moring's team is highly active in representing clients before the BCA, the Market Court and other civil courts throughout Belgium. The firm strengthened its competition practice by hiring senior counsel Luc Machtelinckx from Telenet, where he had previously served as executive vice president and general counsel. In addition to being knowledgeable about the TMT space, Machtelinckx has experience of the oil and chemicals industries. The firm also acts for clients in sectors such as hospitals, publishing, financial services and pharmaceuticals. Marieke Van Nieuwenborgh was promoted to counsel. Thomas De Meese, who is the head of the group, led the advice to Liberty Global/Telenet on its acquisition of sole control over De Vijver Media. Karel Bourgeois joined from Allen & Overy LLP.

Practice head(s):

Thomas De Meese

Other key lawyers:

Luc Machtelinckx; Jules Stuyck; Karl Stas; Marieke Van Nieuwenborgh; Karel Bourgeois

Testimonials

The Crowell & Moring competition law team is available and responsive.

I really appreciate their pragmatic approach. Many competition lawyers give theoretical advice which does not really help or guide you as an in-house counsel that is obliged to take some decisions because of the business reality. Thomas De Meese thinks with you as an in-house counsel and gives practical guidance, indicates the risks associated with potential decisions, but also gives alternatives and evaluates the likelihood of the associated risks.

Key clients

Telenet

Ahold Delhaize

Federation of Flemish Music Festivals

Zorgnet-Icuro

Work highlights

  • Represent Telenet in proceedings with the Belgian Competition Authority with respect to the mobile network sharing joint venture between Orange and Proximus.
  • Representing a major Flemish newspaper publisher on the acquisition of a competing newspaper.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Jones Day

Jones Day's combination of competition and industry expertise sees its team act for clients operating in a wide variety of areas, including consumer goods, financial services and TMT. Charlotte Breuvart is an expert in competition and regulatory issues relating to the energy industry. The firm is strong across all areas of competition law, including merger control, behavioural investigations and follow-on litigation, as well as state aid. Yvan DesmedtLaurent De Muyter and Geoffroy van de Walle are other key individuals in the group, which is jointly led by Bernard Amory and Alexandre Verheyden. De Muyter has served as an assessor at the BCA since 2013.

Practice head(s):

Bernard Amory; Alexandre Verheyden

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Breuvart; Yvan Desmedt; Laurent De Muyter; Geoffroy van de Walle

Testimonials

Yvan Desmedt is the key reference person for me within Jones Day and he proved to be an invaluable partner in many decisions I had to take.

Very capable team, with complementary skills and personalities. Excellent in the telecom sector for both regulatory and litigation. Able to deliver very quickly.

Laurent De Muyter: sound and very able advice in technical areas (telecom, energy). Also provides good advice at the intersection of competition, IP and data protection.

Key clients

AGC Glass

BT

Colt

Luminus

Fluxys

Mastercard

Newpharma

Société Régionale d’Investissement de Wallonie (SRIW)

Suez

Telenet / Liberty Global

Work highlights

  • Advising AGC Glass (Tokyo-listed) on its participation in the joint venture for the production of high-performing insulated glass with SRIW (Société Régionale d’Investissement de Wallonie SA).
  • Advising Suez (listed on Euronext Brussels and Euronext Paris) on the sale of its continental Europe waste management businesses for €3bn.
  • Advising Newpharma, one of Belgium’s leading online pharmacies, on various matters before the Belgian Competition Authority.

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick's practice is led by Stefaan Raes, who has experience of serving as president of the Belgian Competition Authority for ten years. Another key individual is Vincent Mussche, whose time spent in private practice is complemented by his experience of working as in-house antitrust counsel at AGC Glass Europe and Shell. The team advises clients on a wide ambit of matters, including merger control, dawn raids, cartel investigations, competition litigation, compliance programmes and audits, as well as state aid cases. Recent highlights included Mussche and associate Nina Carlier acting for BNP Paribas Fortis and AG Real Estate on their acquisition of joint control over Optimile.

Practice head(s):

Stefaan Raes

Other key lawyers:

Vincent Mussche; Céline Vanhecke; Nina Carlier

Key clients

Uber

Facebook

Shell

AEG Belgium (Vinci Group), presently called Tranzcom

BNP Paribas Fortis

AG Insurance

Brussels Airlines

Proximus (ex-Belgacom)

Orange Belgium

Lidl Belgium

Provera (Cora)

Group BEL

Veolia

DOMO

DP World (Antwerp Gateway)

ABB Industrial Solutions

Duvel Moortgat

Multipharma

Mundipharma

Raffinerie Tirlemontoise

BFFA (Belgian Federation of Football Agents

EFSA (European Food Safety Authority)

ECHA (European Chemicals Agency)

Single Resolution Board

Work highlights

  • Assisted DOMO with its €300m acquisition of Solvay’s EEA polyamide business, which BASF had to divest as a result of the European Commission’s January 2019 conditional clearance decision in case BASF/Solvay.
  • Assisted Brussels Airlines with its €290m state aid application to address the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Advising MWingz, a newly established joint venture between Proximus and Orange, on a mission to develop the mobile access network of the future and to pursue a faster and more comprehensive 5G roll-out in Belgium, covering also the 2G, 3G and 4G technologies.

Van Bael & Bellis

Van Bael & Bellis is a major player in all areas of Belgian competition law and is trusted by clients to handle their most reputationally-sensitive and business-critical matters. Peter L’Ecluse leads the team, which has a strong track record in cases brought before the BCA and the Belgian courts. The group includes Kris Van Hove, whose expertise includes abuses of dominance, cartels, competition damage litigation and merger reviews. Associate Valérie Lefever is particularly knowledgeable about competition and regulatory issues impacting the telecoms industry. Martin Favart left the firm to take up a judgeship at the Namur Court of First Instance.

Practice head(s):

Peter L’Ecluse

Other key lawyers:

Kris Van Hove; Koen T’Syen; Valérie Lefever

Key clients

Allianz

Coca-Cola European Partners

DAF

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

GlaxoSmithKline

Koninklijk Meteorologisch Instituut/Institut Royal Météorologique

Météo-France

Mitsui Group

pharma.be

Safran Group

Triton

Voo (formerly Nethys)

Work highlights

  • Representing Triton, the private equity group behind tour operator Sunweb, in relation to its proposed €146m acquisition of competing tour operator Corendon, including its airline Corendon Dutch Airlines. As the transaction has an EU dimension under the EU Merger Regulation, it was initially notified to the European Commission. However, in a rare move, the case is now before the Belgian and Dutch competition authorities who are reviewing the transaction.
  • Represented VOO in a case brought by Telenet before the Belgian Competition Authority against Orange Belgium and Proximus which, at the end of 2019, established a mobile network sharing joint venture. The joint venture, which is broader in scope than similar transactions that have drawn competition scrutiny around Europe, is expected to have a major impact on various telecommunications markets and on the roll-out in Belgium of the latest 5G mobile communications technology.
  • Representing the DAF group and Paccar group companies in relation to all their damage claims following on from the Commission’s settlement decision in Trucks that are being raised in Belgium. At present, four court cases are pending in three different courts. These cases are for a large part uncharted territory as only a handful of competition damage cases have reached the Belgian courts so far.

ALTIUS

ALTIUS handles a wide range of issues before the Belgian competition authorities and courts. It has a strong track record in major cases centred on abuses of dominance and restrictive practices; in one example, practice head Carmen Verdonck and associate Beatrijs Gielen are representing Union Cycliste Internationale in proceedings before the BCA over cyclocross television broadcasting rights. Elsewhere, the team has expertise in IP-related competition issues, such as patent infringements and breaches of technology transfer agreements. In the state aid space, the group advises both the recipients of aid and competitors challenging the provision of aid to other parties. Merger control work and strategic advice on distribution (and other cooperation) agreements also drive activity. Hanne Baeyens left the firm to become a legal counsel at Belgian Railways.

Practice head(s):

Carmen Verdonck

Other key lawyers:

Beatrijs Gielen

Testimonials

Carmen Verdonck is reactive and solution-oriented.

Key clients

Beiersdorf

Campine

Siemens

FIEGE

UCI

Aurelius

Broadcast Partners

LBC Tank Terminals

Euroseeds

Pace Rights Management

Bolton Group

Work highlights

  • Represented Campine before the General Court in its appeal against the Commission’s decision, and currently representing Campine before the General Court to claim interest on the amount of the fine that was annulled and had to be paid back by the European Commission.
  • Assisted Siemens throughout a cartel investigation and the settlement procedure before the Belgian Competition Authority, and currently representing Siemens in its defence against a relating damages claim before the Belgian civil courts.
  • Representing PACE Rights Management LLP in the intervention in the Court of Appeal proceedings brought by the Belgian collecting society SABAM against a ruling by the Brussels Commercial Court finding SABAM had committed an abuse of dominance by charging excessive tariff rates, and advising on the European Commission’s ‘amicus curiae’ requested by the Brussels Court of Appeal.

Ashurst LLP

Ashurst LLP's team combines competition expertise with knowledge about ancillary regulatory, institutional and consumer protection issues. One of its core areas of strength is in litigating innovative and other complex competition cases; in one example, Denis Waelbroeck and others are currently representing the Luxembourg government in all state aid cases arising from tax rulings given to individual tax payers. On the merger control side, Annick Vroninks recently led the advice to Unilabs on the notification of the indirect acquisition of competitor Saltro, a company active in medical laboratory analysis. Elsewhere, the group provides the full scope of advice on horizontal agreements, abuses of dominance and all competition-related proceedings before the BCA and Belgian courts. Denis Fosselard is the practice head.

Practice head(s):

Denis Fosselard

Other key lawyers:

Annick Vroninks; Denis Waelbroeck; Irene Antypas; Donald Slater

Testimonials

Very hands-on and perseverant mentality; very responsive; in-depth knowledge of competition law; most importantly, always willing to go the extra mile.

Annick Vroninks has extensive knowledge of not only the law but also the industry. She is very approachable, responsive, perseverant, meticulous and sharp in her analyses. You can trust that she will go the extra mile and will leave nothing on the table.

Key clients

Apax Partners

CBR (HeidelbergCement)

Colgate

DP World

Engie

Imperial Tobacco

Renewi

Tetra Laval / Tetra Pak

Total

UEFA

Unilabs

Work highlights

  • Acting for Imperial Tobacco Belgium on an investigation into alleged restrictive practices in the tobacco sector raising novel questions over the notion of concerted practice.
  • Representing UEFA before the Belgian Courts and the European Commission regarding the compatibility with EU and competition law of inter alia the adoption of financial fair play rules.
  • Acting for Unilabs on the notification of the indirect acquisition of competitor Saltro, a company active in medical laboratory analysis raising inter alia interesting market definition questions.

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL's Belgian competition practice is jointly led by Kurt Haegeman (whose time is split between the Brussels and Tokyo offices) and Joost Haans. The team represents clients in cartel and abuse of dominance investigations, as well as investigations into vertical restraints and resale price maintenance, and merger reviews. In addition, it undertakes state aid-related work and provides compliance advice on issues such as distribution and horizontal agreements. The firm's merger control work has been on the increase recently. In addition, its investigations work has grown, spanning areas such as security services and football league broadcasting rights, among various others.

Practice head(s):

Kurt Haegeman; Joost Haans

Testimonials

‘The in-house experience of partner Joost Haans is very valuable.’

‘Joost Haans is a very personable professional. He has a good feel of the dynamics of an in-house practice and is a realistic, pragmatic and down to earth business partner.’

‘Highly competent team who are also extremely easy to work with from an in-house counsel point of view.’

‘Joost Hans is extremely knowledgeable and well able to present complex technical or procedural matters in clearly understandable text. This is extremely important to avoid misunderstandings. Further he considers the step after next when planning the strategy.’

Key clients

Merck

Philips

Biogen

Barco

Cobelfret

Emerson

Recticel

HP

Bayer

HP

Google

Unilever Belgium

Pioneer Europe

SABCA

Mirage Holdings

Bâloise Belgium

Zespri

Danone

AbbVie

Ansell

Work highlights

  • Representing HP before the BCA and in litigation before the Brussels Court of Appeal in relation to a complaint and a request for interim measures alleging abuse of dominance. The case is important because it focuses on key points related to printer aftermarkets and supplies of printheads and ink cartridges, which has been the subject of numerous EU investigations in the past, and is now also on the radar of the Belgian competition authority.
  • Assisted Van Merksteijn with obtaining BCA approval of its acquisition of sole control over Intersig. This merger control process was particularly tricky because Van Merksteijn was already a shareholder in Intersig.
  • Advised Bâloise Belgium B.V. on its acquisition of part of the Athora non-life insurance portfolio in Belgium.

DALDEWOLF

DALDEWOLF is highlighted for its strengths in regulated network sectors (such as energy, rail, health and insurance), where its economic, regulatory and competition expertise is particularly noted. The team represents clients in behavioural investigations and audits, as well as providing support on merger control and competition litigation. Carole Maczkovics, who acts for both public entities and private organisations, has expertise in state aid, public procurement and regulatory issues. Maczkovics co-heads the practice with Pierre Goffinet.

Practice head(s):

Pierre Goffinet; Carole Maczkovics

Testimonials

The team has perfect legal, but above all, economic mastery of the matter, which makes the difference in competition law. The economic knowledge of Pierre Goffinet is an undeniable asset. Pierre Goffinet’s previous professional experience at the Belgian Competition Authority is more than a plus. It is so valuable.

Total pleasure and absolute confidence to work with Pierre Goffinet and his team, everything is clear from every point of view (skills, invoicing, collaboration, work methods, respect of deadlines, accessibility…). I would like to have more competition law cases to work on with Pierre and his team because it’s very enjoyable.

A multidisciplinary team allowing pragmatic and solution-oriented approach of legal issues.

Pierre Goffinet is available and flexible. Able to discuss and explain competition law with people without legal background. Able to catch the political dimension of some issues.

Work highlights

  • Advised the Belgian Ministry for economic affairs in its intervention in a request for preliminary ruling opposing the Belgian collective management organisation for copyright (SABAM) to the owners of festivals.

Deprevernet

Deprevernet has acted as the preferred counsel to the BCA since its inception in 2013, particularly in the context of Market Court appeals arising from decisions by the Authority, as well as advising the client on procedural issues. In addition, the firm generates a strong flow of work from private undertakings, notably in relation to merger notifications and competition investigations. Elsewhere, it is highly active in abuse of dominance cases and has a strong reputation in areas such as telecoms, postal services and energy. In addition, the firm is a major player in interim measures cases (either acting for the BCA, complainants or defendants). Grégoire Ryelandt heads up the practice.

Practice head(s):

Grégoire Ryelandt

Other key lawyers:

Philippe Vernet; Evrard de Lophem; Jasper De fauw; Eric Bodson

Testimonials

Grégoire Ryelandt is, in my view, one of the best Belgian competition lawyers.

Very specialised in litigation. They are very active at the level of the Market Court. They have a fast-growing team.

Philippe Vernet has a very good knowledge of the merits of the case and is able to summarize the substance of a case in a few words. He makes simple what is important and complex for the judge to understand. Sébastien Depré is a great litigator.

The USP of the firm is its connection to the antitrust enforcers, which comes from work for these bodies (representing them in judicial proceedings) – there is hardly any other local firm that can benefit from similar ties.

Grégoire Ryelandt has a great capacity to understand the economic aspects of very complex cases and to present them in a very accessible way to judges. Jasper De fauw is a seasoned litigator with a great knowledge of material competition law. He has a particularly strong profile in private enforcement cases. Evrard de Lophem is a great strategist who provides very useful and practical guidance for clients.

Small efficient boutique firm with a lot of “punch”.

The team is very accessible and applies reasonable fees. Their partners have experiences in good international firms and bring the quality and methodology of these firms to an efficient niche firm.

Key clients

Dossche

SABAM

Ministry of Economy

Provinciale Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij (POM) West-Vlaanderen

LitFin

Institut belge des services postaux et des télécommunications (IBPT) – Belgisch Instituut voor postdiensten en telecommunicatie (BIPT)

Belgian Competition Authority (BCA)

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended the Belgian Competition Authority’s decision to impose a fine on the Ordre des Pharmaciens.
  • Defends the collecting society SABAM in proceedings before the Belgian courts and the European Court of Justice against allegations of abuse of dominance.
  • Assisting LitFin with a claim launched before the Belgian courts against VISA and Mastercard.

Eubelius

At Eubelius, practice head Hans GilliamsJan Bocken and senior attorney Leen Goossens are working with the tax team to represent multiple beneficiaries before the EU Court of Justice in the EC's appeal of the General Court's decision to annul the EC's judgment on Belgian excess profit rulings. Also notable is that Gilliams advised the Belgian state on two state guarantee schemes for loans to businesses hurt by the Covid-19 pandemic. Bocken undertakes a mix of state aid work (with a focus on regulated sectors, such as broadcasting, postal services and aeronautics), merger control and advice on co-operation agreements. Senior attorney Stijn Goovaerts is another key figure in the group.

Practice head(s):

Hans Gilliams; Jan Bocken

Other key lawyers:

Stijn Goovaerts; Leen Goossens

Testimonials

Hans Gilliams continues to be a brilliant, down to earth lawyer. He combines unique legal expertise with an unparalleled capacity to discuss complex legal matters in C level style and language. He is well connected and highly regarded by peers, regulators and courts.

Eubelius stays loyal to a culture of excellence, openness and authenticity. The firm shares the same values. They are actively working on diversity and exclusion, and go beyond keeping up appearances. They are also involved in high level regulatory and legislative work.

Excellent legal advice with clear attention to business needs and risk assessment. Clear and straightforward communication. Availability and engagement at all levels.

Key clients

bpost

TUI Group

Havenbedrijf Antwerpen

VRT

Magnetrol International

Puratos

Delta Light

Ontex

Siemens Industry Software

BASF Antwerpen

Ansell Healthcare Europe

Trane

Kinepolis Group

Vasco Group

Astra Sweets

Mayekawa Europe

Celio International

SNCB/NMBS

Asco Industries

Bancontact Payconiq Company

Febelfin

FPIM

Crelan

De Lijn

Fedrus

Belgian Minister of Finance and Department of the Treasury

Work highlights

  • Advised Sabena Aerospace and SFPI-FPIM (Federal Holding and Investment Company) on their acquisition of the shares of SABCA, held by the Dassault group (96.85%) and listed on EURONEXT (3.15%).
  • Acted for incumbent postal operator bpost in its appeal of a €37.4m fine imposed by the Belgian Competition Authority.
  • Advising the Belgian State (Minister of Finance, Department of the Treasury, National Bank of Belgium) on the design, approval and clearance of several state guarantee schemes for bank loans to businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Quinz

Quinz notably excels in acting for undertakings in abuse of dominance investigations; although this specialism applies to a wide range of regulated industries, the firm is particularly active in the pharmaceutical sector. Elsewhere, the team has expertise in cartel investigations, competition litigation, state aid and merger control. It also advises clients on cooperation arrangements (including distribution agreements) and also provides assistance with compliance training. Wim De Meester, who co-heads the practice with Olivier Van Obberghen, was one of the advisers to Ethias on a joint venture with Weerts Group to jointly develop a logistics warehouse portfolio in Europe.

Practice head(s):

Wim De Meester; Olivier Van Obberghen

Testimonials

Wim De Meester: specialist in competition law, pragmatic approach, to the point, flexible, great availability.

Quinz has attracted some top talent competition lawyers from major firms in the last year.

Wim is meticulous, knowledgeable, pragmatic and strategically sound. He has an excellent reputation at, and rapport with, the Belgian Competition Authority and he is one of the very few lawyers his age that is able to bring an immediate structure and calmness into antitrust investigations, thereby inspiring confidence throughout the teams, both internally and externally.

Benoît Allemeersch: outstanding litigator. Wim De Meester: Hands-on mentality, excellent competition lawyer.

Quinz always works very securely, the team never overlooks anything, they analyse every possible way to handle your dossier/issue and they work fast.

Key clients

AG Insurance

Roche

Febelco

Novartis

Johnson & Johnson

UCB

Takeda

KCE – Belgian Health Care Knowledge Center

Horeca Vlaanderen

Casen Recordati

Belgian Competition Authority

Alcon Couvreur

Work highlights

  • Provides Roche with day-to-day competition law advice on an ongoing basis and represents the client in a Belgian Competition Authority investigation into allegedly anticompetitive conduct.
  • Provides competition law advice to AG Insurance in relation to some major strategic partnerships, including with Touring, among others.
  • Provides Febelco with day-to-day competition law advice on an ongoing basis.