The Netherlands

On behalf of the team

Power cables cartel and cardboard cartel

On 25 April, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal announced similar questions to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling in two cartel damages proceedings. In the first case, a number of Gulf State utility companies are seeking damages in connection with the power cable cartel.[1] In the second case, Unilever is seeking damages following a decision by the Italian competition authority with regard to a cartel on the Italian cardboard market.[2] In both cases, the foreign parent companies were fined by the competition authorities, but not their Dutch subsidiaries. The question was whether the Dutch companies could serve as anchor defendants for the foreign companies on the basis of 8(1) Brussels I Regulation Recast.

The Amsterdam Court of Appeal intends to ask detailed questions about the application of Article 8(1) of the Brussels I Regulation Recast with regard to:

  • the existence of a “close connection” between the claim against a fined foreign parent company and the claim against a non-addressed subsidiary established in the Netherlands,
  • the interpretation and application of the term ‘undertaking’ under competition law,
  • the relevance of the eligibility for award of the claims against the anchor defendants when a ruling on jurisdiction is given,
  • the right to damages for legal entities established outside the EEA,
  • the possibility of the existence of several anchor defendants and
  • the possibility of referring to another competent court within one Member State.

The parties can now comment on these questions.

[1] Amsterdam Court of Appeal 25 April 2023, ECLI:NL:GHAMS:2023:961 (EWG/Prysmian).

[2] Amsterdam Court of Appeal 25 April 2023, ECLI:NL:GHAMS:2023:957 (Smurfit Kappa Europe B.V./DS Smith Italy B.V.).