19 April 2007
20 April 2007 - The Office of Fair Trading ("OFT") has finally and unconditionally closed its case against the London Metal Exchange ("LME"), the world's premier non-ferrous metals market. Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP successfully advised the LME, after a complaint to the OFT of predatory pricing and margin squeezing by the Spectron Group plc.
The LME intended to extend the opening hours of its Electronic Trading Platform ("ETP"), LME Select, with effect from 1 March 2006, so that its members could trade electronically during Asian trading hours. Following a complaint from the Spectron Group plc, the OFT imposed, on 27 February 2006, its first ever Interim Measures Direction (IMD), to prevent the LME from extending its electronic trading activities to capture Asian trading times. The LME appealed the IMD to the Competition Appeals Tribunal ("CAT"). Just over two weeks after the appeal was lodged, the OFT decided to withdraw the IMD unconditionally and in its entirety. The LME applied to the CAT for costs against the OFT in respect of the actions the LME had been required to bring against the OFT in order to get the IMD lifted. The LME succeeded in securing a costs order against the OFT.
After nearly 4 years of investigating the LME and discussions with the LME regarding closure of the case the OFT has finally decided to close the entirety of its investigation unconditionally and in full.
The Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw team advising LME was led by EU & Competition partner Frances Murphy supported by Gillian Sproul and Ilaria Filippi.
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