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43. Article 82 prohibits any abuse by one or more undertakings of a dominant position. It follows that the application of Article 82 is not confined to cases where a single undertaking holds a dominant position; it is also applicable where two or more undertakings together hold a dominant position.

Concept of Collective Dominance 44. For collective dominance to exist under Article 82, two or more undertakings must from an economic point of view present themselves or act together on a particular market as a collective entity.40 It is not required that the undertakings concerned adopt identical conduct on the market in every respect.41 What matters is that they are able to adopt a common policy on the market and act to a considerable extent independently of their competitors, their customers, and

also of consumers.42

Connecting Factors 45. In order to establish the existence of such a collective entity on the market, it is

necessary to examine the factors that give rise to a connection between the undertakings concerned.43 Such factors may flow from the nature and terms of an agreement between the undertakings in question or from the way in which it is implemented44, provided that the agreement leads the undertakings in question to present themselves or act together as a collective entity. This may, for instance, be the case if undertakings have concluded cooperation agreements that lead them to coordinate their conduct on the market. It may also be the case if ownership interests and other links in law lead the undertakings concerned to co-ordinate.

Legal links not indispensable 46. However, the existence of an agreement or of other links in law is not indispensable to a finding of a collective dominant position. Such a finding may be based on other connecting factors and depends on an economic assessment and, in particular, on an assessment of the


41 42

43 44

See Joined cases C-395/96 P and C-396/96 P Compagnie maritime belge transports, cited in footnote 4, paragraph 36. See in this respect Case T-228/97 Irish Sugar cited in footnote 38, paragraph 66. See Joined Cases C-68/94 and C-30/95, French Republic and Société commerciale des potasses et de l'azote (SCPA) and Entreprise minière et chimique (EMC) v Commission [1998] ECR I-1375, paragraph 221. Idem. Case C-393/92 Almelo, cited in footnote 7, paragraphs 41 to 43.

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