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ACCC: Full Federal Court dismisses cartel appeal

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) stated that the Full Federal Court of Australia has dismissed an appeal by electric cable manufacturer Prysmian Cavi E Sistemi S.R.L. (Prysmian) against a ruling that it engaged in cartel conduct in the supply of high voltage land cables.

Prysmian's cartel conduct related to the supply of high voltage land cables and accessories to a Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme project in 2003.

The Federal Court found in 2016 that Prysmian entered into and gave effect to agreements involving price guidance to competitors and project allocation. The court ordered a penalty of $3.5 million. "We welcome the Full Court's decision confirming the trial judge's decision that Prysmian engaged in cartel conduct," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

"The ACCC is committed to pursuing cartel conduct which can cause significant harm to consumers, other businesses, and the competitive process the economy depends on," Mr Sims said.

In its appeal to the Full Court, Prysmian argued that the trial judge erred in finding that it had engaged in cartel conduct in circumstances where the ACCC's case against Nexans SA, another alleged participant in the conduct, had been dismissed. Prysmian also argued there were errors in the trial judge's reliance on witness evidence.

- Please click here for full statement.

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ASIC: Federal Court orders the winding up of Superfunded

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) stated that the Federal Court of Australia has made orders by consent to wind up WA-based company Superfunded Pty Ltd (Superfunded), appointing Jason Tracy of Deloitte as the Liquidator.

ASIC made the winding up application for the appointment of a Liquidator to Superfunded to the Federal Court of Australia on 15 February 2018.

ASIC had previously obtained a range of interim injunctions in the Perth Federal Court on 9 November 2017 (refer: 17-400MR) against Superfunded and its sole director, Max David Goldenberg, of Currambine and its sole shareholder Mr Mark Travis Goldenberg  of Claremont (the Goldenbergs):

  • restraining Superfunded and the Goldenbergs from providing financial services
  • restraining Superfunded and the Goldenbergs from having access to client or investor assets
  • prohibiting advertising, promoting or marketing financial services or products in relation to the investors and potential investors of the Superfunded Loan Investment Trust
  • for the preservation of assets; and
  • for financial disclosure.          

ASIC Commissioner John Price said, "This case serves as a reminder to consumers approached to set up self -managed super funds, to take care to ensure they are not being drawn into schemes that may involve illegal early access to superannuation."

ASIC's investigation is ongoing.

ASIC's media release 


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Inquiry into telco transmission commences

The ACCC has commenced a public inquiry to determine whether declaration of the Domestic Transmission Capacity Service (DTCS) remains appropriate in light of changes to the market, including the growth of commercial alternatives available to service providers, new NBN products for business customers and industry consolidation.

Transmission services are high capacity, wholesale data services. They are an essential input into many retail telecommunication services, including mobile services, residential broadband services and business services. They are also used to aggregate and transport large volumes of voice, data and video traffic. This is often referred to as backhaul.

The DTCS declaration is due to expire on 31 March 2019. The ACCC is required under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 to conduct a review of the DTCS declaration within 18 months of the expiry of the declaration.

The ACCC notes many service providers are now acquiring non-regulated commercial domestic transmission services in preference to the regulated DTCS service.

“It is important to review the scope of our regulation to determine whether the way in which we describe the regulated service adequately reflects the manner in which transmission services are currently being sold and purchased,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“If the market has changed to a significant extent, we will examine whether other service features should be included in the service description.”

Since the DTCS was last declared, the NBN has announced a number of new business enterprise products targeted to meet business customer needs. We also note that the introduction of 5G networks could offer an alternative technology over which high capacity short distance transmission services may be delivered.

“This declaration inquiry takes place at an important time for the communications market. The NBN rollout has progressed significantly since we last looked at the domestic transmission market and we need to examine the impact that NBN services are having on competition within the transmission market,” Mr Sims said.

“As part of this inquiry we will examine competition in transmission at NBN points of interconnection, as these transmission services are essential in carrying traffic between the POI and a service provider’s network.”

Given further industry consolidation since 2014, the ACCC will consider the extent to which this has impacted competition.

During the ACCC’s recent inquiry into whether domestic mobile roaming should be declared, the ACCC received a number of submissions about transmission costs and decisions to deploy or upgrade mobile networks in regional areas.

“As we indicated during that inquiry, we will consider whether transmission services used for the supply of mobile services in remote and regional Australia should be considered separately to other transmission services,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC is seeking views on these issues via its discussion paper by 13 April 2018.

The discussion paper and further information about the DTCS Inquiry is available at:  Domestic Transmission Capacity Service Declaration Inquiry 2018 - 2019.

 Click here for ACCC media release.


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Recent News

ACCC: Full Federal Court dismisses cartel appeal 16/03/2018 1:09:40 AM
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ASIC: Federal Court orders the winding up of Superfunded 15/03/2018 1:20:44 AM
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Inquiry into telco transmission commences 6/03/2018 10:32:00 PM
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