Kinepolis Belgium: Court of Appeal asks Competition Council to
reassess the Kinepolis dossier
Kinepolis Group was today informed of the judgement of the Court of
Appeal on the decision reached by the Competition Council (April
In April 2007 the Competition Council decided to lift the conditions
imposed on Kinepolis in Belgium in 1997. This decision was contested
by UGC, Utopolis and FCB, and the Court of Appeal has now ruled that
the Competition Council should re-examine the dossier.
On 16 April 2007, after months of investigation, the Belgian
competition authority, the Competition Council, lifted the conditions
that had been imposed on Kinepolis at the time of the merger between
the Bert group and the Claeys group in 1997. The conditions were no
longer necessary owing to the changed circumstances on the Belgian
The conditions in question stipulated among other things that for ten
years, any significant expansion or takeover would have to be subject
to the prior consent of the Competition Council. The Council's
approval was not required for limited expansions or the replacement
of existing complexes by new complexes.
However, in April the international cinema groups UGC and Utopolis,
with the support of the Belgian cinema federation, the FCB, lodged an
appeal. While awaiting the judgement on the merits, these parties
submitted a request for suspension which was granted by the Court on
23 August 2007.
The Court of Appeal has now ruled that the Competition Council should
re-examine the lifting of the conditions.
Kinepolis is confident that the new decision will confirm the
Competition Council's most recent ruling, bearing in mind the altered
market circumstances, the free choice of Belgian cinema-goers and the
economic development of the Belgian cinema sector.
While awaiting the new judgement from the Competition Council,
Kinepolis Group is taking account of the restrictions imposed when
planning its growth strategy, just as it has for the past ten years.