The Competition Council reviews decision concerning Kinepolis Belgium

Regulatory release After a second investigation, the Competition Council (Belgium) reviews its decision to lift the conditions imposed upon Kinepolis in 1997 at the time of the merger between the Bert Group and the Claeys Group. Earlier this year (18/03/2008), the Court of Appeals judged that the Competition Council needed to re-investigate the imposed conditions (a.o. the Council's prior approvement of the creation, renovation and take-over of existing theatre complexes). After months of investigation, the latter had decided (16/04/2007) to no longer extend the conditions, taking into account the changes in the Belgian cinema market in the 1997-2007 period. However, the international cinema groups UGC and Utopolis, supported by the Belgian cinema federation FCB, have appealed this judgment. The Competition Council now judges that expansion or replacement of existing complexes with new complexes no longer needs permission from the Council. However, until 30/09/2011 any building of a new complex or take-over of an existing theatre complex still has to be formally announced to the competition authority. In its strategy, the Kinepolis Group, of which the Council recognizes it stimulates innovation in the industry, will continue to take into account the conditions imposed, as it has done for the past 11 years.