Located in Berlin, Munich, Brussels and London, offering European and global solutions
With offices in Berlin, Munich, Brussels and London, we are well-placed to address our clients’ needs in Germany and across Europe.
We also benefit from the in-depth business experience and research capabilities of our partner ESMT Berlin, an internationally recognised business school.
Based on our partnership with Bates White, a leading US economic consulting firm, we offer transatlantic solutions with representation before EU and US regulatory authorities.
Our highly qualified and experienced team provides robust economic analysis of the competitive effects associated with mergers, both in phase I and phase II investigations and acquisition.
We provide economic advice throughout all phases of merger proceedings. Our experts employ advanced economic tools to define the relevant antitrust markets from a product and geographic standpoint and analyse potential competition concerns of horizontal and vertical mergers.
In this context, we apply sophisticated economic and statistical techniques to assess the closeness of competition between differentiated products, competition in bidding markets, potential market foreclosure concerns, and other issues that frequently arise in the context of merger control.
The stakes are high - differences in merger prohibition risk across jurisdictions
Number of merger prohibitions and withdrawals compared to long-run average
The figure compares the average prohibition risk in the years 2019-2021 to the previous 6 years. The European Commission reports the number of cases withdrawn in phase 1, the number of cases withdrawn in phase 2, and the number of prohibitions. The prohibition risk is the sum of these three numbers, relative to the total number of notifications. The German Bundeskartellamt reports the number of prohibitions and the number of cases withdrawn (or modified) at any stage of the proceeding, including the pre-notification phase. The prohibition risk is the sum of these two numbers, relative to the total number of notifications. Note that the figure should not be considered a simple measure of regulatory performance.
Source: E.CA Economics based on the European Commission and the Bundeskartellamt
We have provided economic analysis for merging parties in cases brought before the European Commission and many national authorities including the German, Austrian, Belgian, Dutch, Swiss and UK competition authorities. Our consultants have worked with numerous renowned legal experts and have provided vital assistance in some of the most high-profile mergers in recent years, including among others:
- Telecommunication mergers: Telefónica Deutschland / E-Plus (EC, Phase II, M.7018), Hutchison 3G UK / Telefónica Ireland (EC, Phase II, M.6992), Unitymedia / Liberty Global (Bundeskartellamt)
- Industrial goods: HeidelbergCement / Italcementi (EC, Phase I, M.7744), Holcim / Lafarge (EC, Phase I, M.7252), SEB INTERNATIONALE / WMF GROUP (EC, M.8091) ArcelorMittal / Ilva (EC, Phase II, M.8444), RHI / Magnesita (EC, Phase I, M.8286), CRH / XI RMAT (EC, M.8626), Knauf / Armstrong
(EC, M.8832), Kronospan/Pfleiderer (EC, Phase II, M.10325)
- Fast Moving Consumer Goods: Metro/AGM (BWB/Z-5650 in Austria),
Real / Edeka and Real / Kaufland (Germany), Ter Beke – Pluma / Campofrio Food and Imperial Meat Products VOF (Belgium)
- Automotive: Federal-Mogul / Honeywell (EC, Phase I, M.7174), agna / Karmann, ZF / WABCO (EC, Phase I, M.9383), Acquisition of Mercedes
dealerships owned by Mercedes-Benz Retail Belgium by Car Avenue, RCM – Saga Piret, by Hedin Automotive Belgium AB (Belgium),
- Pharma: Phoenix / McKesson.
- Platforms and Media: Immowelt / Immonet, TomTom / TeleAtlas (EC, Phase II, M.4854), Google / DoubleClick (EC, Phase I, M.4731), Facebook / Giphy (Austria), DPG Media and Rossel & Cie / RTL (Belgium)
- Recycling: Remondis / DSD
- Banking and Finance: DK / DK-Pay JV
Cartels and other anti-competitive agreements
We conduct economic analysis related to cartel investigations by competition authorities. Our services in the area of (potentially) anti-competitive agreements extend to all types of horizontal and vertical agreements.
We advise clients on potential risk exposure by evaluating the nature of their practices and agreements. Such advice can take place early in an investigation by a competition authority or be conducted in support of internal review processes. During cartel investigations, our consultants prepare empirical analyses on the actual or likely competitive effects of the alleged behaviour and assess the extent to which alternative explanations of certain behaviours apply. E.CA Economics additionally assists clients with self-assessments or in the context of investigations by authorities of horizontal (e.g. technological cooperation agreements) and vertical agreements (e.g. between brand owners and distributors).
The tip of the iceberg - number of prosecuted cartels in Europe
Number of Commission decisions relating to cartels, average in the last two years compared to long-run average
The figure compares the average number of decisions in the last two years (with available data) to the previous 10 years.
Source: E.CA Economics based on Friederiszick/Gratz/Rauber (2018)
We provide economic analysis to numerous clients involved in cartel proceedings and cases involving information exchange and we have presented economic evidence before competition authorities across Europe. For our experience in calculating cartel damages, please see the Litigation, damages and arbitration section. In the area of vertical agreements, our consultants have worked on distribution networks for well-known brands and analysed intellectual property licensing agreements. In the area of horizontal agreements, we have carried out competitive assessments of arrangements such as procurement joint ventures in a wide variety of industries. Our engagements in this area have included advice to:
- Smart card chip cartel: support to Infineon AG, market definition and effects analysis, defendant side, EU administrative proceedings and private litigation
- Companies involved in EU administrative cartel proceedings, including trucks (defendant, proceedings and damages), cold cuts (defendant, proceedings), financial products (defendant, proceedings and damages), beer (defendant, proceedings), bearings (defendant, proceedings and damages), freight forwarding (claimants, proceeding and damages), and several other cartel proceedings
- Companies involved in vertical restraints proceedings including grocery retail and fast-moving consumer goods
- A large pharmaceutical company (competitive impact of a license agreement)
- Leading paper-industry producers (analysis of a procurement joint venture
Litigation, damages and arbitration
We provide expert economic advice to plaintiffs and defendants engaged in private litigation. Our consultants act as independent appointed experts in court and arbitration proceedings and have themselves served as arbitrators.
Through participation in a wide variety of cases, our consultants have helped to expand the toolbox of empirical methods used for damages calculation, cartel analysis and general litigation. They perform in-depth counterfactual scenario analyses to evaluate the economic effects of cartels.
With extensive experience in empirical overcharge and pass-on estimation, we are able to produce robust estimates of cartel overcharges and damages, and provide overcharge estimates for settlement negotiations with national enforcement agencies and in private litigation.
We have valuable experience handling large multi-jurisdictional proceedings, such as the trucks cartel or the airfreight cartel. In the past five years, E.CA Economics has conducted damage assessments in more than 100 markets.
Private litigation - a race to settlement?
Average number of years between decisions and first settlement.
Note that the average time to settlement is removed for 2012 as this year is an outlier.
Source: E.CA Economics based on Friederiszick/Gratz/Rauber (2018)
We have provided expert analysis in most of the major cartel damages actions in Europe in the last 10 years. Our experience ranges across a wide variety of sectors, including among others:
- Automotive and automotive supply: trucks, bearings, car glass, acoustic and thermal management systems, fire engine vehicles
- Financial and related services: Visa/Mastercard interchange fees and several others
- Manufacturing: smart card chips, elevators and escalators, gas-insulated switchgear, tubes for district heating, industrial tubes
- Transport: air cargo, freight forwarding, rail infrastructure
- Retail grocery: drugstore products, washing ingredients, cookies, coffee, beer
We help companies and public authorities to assess any economic issues related to State aid control. We apply the Market Economy Operator Principle to identify potential State aid and assess compatibility with the provisions of Article 107(3) TFEU.
We have helped numerous companies and public authorities to identify and assess instances of State aid. Employing a wide variety of tools, our consultants have worked for various national governments, as well as for a range of aid recipients including Airbus Helicopter, Deutsche Post, Deutsche Bahn, automotive suppliers, paper manufacturers and international airports.
In addition, we have conducted several ex-post evaluations of European State Aid policies for the European Commission, addressing inter alia regional and environmental aid.
Several of our directors and staff have further obtained significant experience on the topic while under the employ of the European Commission. We have published widely on State aid matters.
The difference makes the difference in State aid cases
Methods proposed for ex-post evaluations of State aid, 2014-2016
- 18% Regression discontinuity
- 18% Others
- 64% Difference-in-Difference (and variants)
Source: E.CA Economics based on Umweltbundesamt (Hrsg.) (2018)
Our State aid experience includes the examination of a wide range of state support measures:
- The Market Economy Operator Principle (MEOP): Leipzig Airport, Munich Airport, DB Regio, an international carrier
- R&D aid: Airbus Helicopter
- Regional investment aid: LG Chem, ProPapier
- Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI): Deutsche Bahn
- Ex-post evaluation: report for the German Environmental Agency on how to apply the Commissions guidance paper on ex-post evaluation for environmental aid cases and several other studies and white papers
Abuse of dominance
We offer broad expertise in abuse of dominance (Article 102 TFEU) matters, employing an effects-based approach to cases in this area.
In assessing potential anti-competitive behaviour, detailed economic analysis of conduct is crucial. We combine the latest developments in economic theory with robust empirical analysis, thus providing the best possible advice and results for our clients. We are experts in applying conceptual benchmarks for exclusionary behaviour, such as the as-efficient-competitor test, to real-world cost data.
Our experts have implemented these benchmark tests even in non-standard industry environments such as the financial sector. As part of a comprehensive abuse assessment, our advice embeds benchmark test results within an overall economic assessment of the potential to foreclose rivals.
In the spot light: Exploitation of consumers
Abuse of dominance proceedings by the European Commission (Article 102), 2007 – 2017, by type of abuse
- 14% Exploitative abuse cases
- 86% Other cases
Source: E.CA Economics based on Van Dijk/Gratz (2018) and Friederiszick/Gratz (2015); Competition Policy, EC (Antitrust/Cartel cases, “Art 102 TFEU (Ex 82 EC)”).
Some recent engagements in this area are:
• Predatory pricing allegation in the rail passenger transportation industry
• Margin squeeze in the telecommunications sector
• Analysis of the empirical relationship between measures of buyer power and the outcome of bilateral negotiations in the grocery retailing industry (for EDEKA)
• Assessments of conditional rebate schemes in TV advertisement sales and marketing
• Support of a complainant regarding Google’s alleged abuse of a dominant position
• Assessment of exclusivity inducing rebates in the European seed industry
• upport in filing a complaint with EC for abuse of dominant position by a retail fuel chain and refusal to deal with a fuel app in Poland
• Abuse of a dominant position in the Austrian market for personalised mass-mailings
• “Pay-for-delay” agreements in the pharmaceutical markets
Regulated industries and market design
We advise firms operating in regulated industries on a wide variety of issues including access regulation and rate setting. We also develop and help implement market-design plans in regulated industries.
We advise firms on a wide variety of regulatory issues including access regulation and rate setting. We have also developed and implemented market-design plans in regulated industries such as local and rail transport. Our market-design work has additionally included the development of auctions for customers in the communications and electricity industries.
On the relevance of abuse of dominance cases in regulated industries
Abuse of dominance proceedings by the European Commission (Article 102), 2007 – 2017, by industry
- 20% Regulated indutries – refusal to supply
- 20% Regulated indutries – other alligations
- 61% Other industries
Source: E.CA Economics based on Van Dijk/Gratz (2018) and Friederiszick/Gratz (2015)
Our work in regulated industries and market design includes:
- Report on the sustainability of future business models for Deutsche Telekom https://www.esmt.org/pub/assessment-sustainable-internet-model-near-future
- Research project for Deutsche Telekom on the relationship between entry regulation and investment in the telecommunications sector https://www.esmt.org/pub/analyzing-relationship-between-regulation-and-investment-telecom-sector
- Critical review of the EU regulatory framework for e-communications
- Quantitative and theoretical analysis of the effect of pricing and reimbursement regulation on pharmaceutical innovation for Novartis
- Expert reports on various topics such as the regulation of mobile-termination rates, Internet regulation, auctions of virtual power plants, price regulation in postal services and market transparency initiatives in the agro and food sector
Innovation, patents and copyright
We provide expert economic advice in cases at the intersection between antitrust and intellectual property, as well as on matters where innovation plays an important role. We base our practical advice on state-of-the-art economic theory and empirical methods.
We have accumulated extensive experience in this area, thanks to the involvement in cases such as the European Commission’s investigation into licensing practices for standard essential patents, by being authors of high-profile reports on copyright policy options for the European Commission, and through extensive work in the area of mergers and innovation.
The engagements of our experts in this area have included:
- Analysing the effects of alleged coordination on innovation
- Assessment of royalties in music licensing
- Providing assessments on the patent landscape in the context of 5G standardisation for an important holder of relevant patents
- Economic analysis of FRAND royalty rates for patents essential to cellular communication standards