Paul Lachine

Une contre-révolution antitrust ?

BARCELONE – La crise financière mondiale actuelle a révélé les énormes pressions auxquelles sont confrontées les politiques de concurrence de part et d’autre de l’Atlantique. Les politiques de concurrence ont particulièrement souffert des mesures corruptives d’aide aux intermédiaires financiers ainsi que de la suspension de règlementations de fusion pour sauver les institutions. Les provisions de capital publiques et les autres subventions ont déséquilibré les règles du jeu, avec des institutions faibles qui ont mieux capitalisé que celles en meilleure forme.

C’est essentiel dans un secteur tel que celui de la banque, où la perception de la solidité d’une institution est fondamentale à sa capacité à être compétitive. La Lloyds TSB, par exemple, a pris le contrôle de la HBOS, la plus importante société de crédit immobilier britannique, en difficulté, par une fusion qui n’avait pas reçu l’aval de l’Office of Fair Trading britannique, alors qu’elle avait été empêchée de prendre le contrôle de la banque Abbey National en 2001. Aux Etats-Unis, le secteur de la banque d’investissement a été consolidé par les prises de contrôle imposées de Bear Stearns par JP Morgan et de Merrill Lynch par Bank of America. Il en résulte un net affaiblissement de la compétitivité entre les différents acteurs du secteur.

La politique de concurrence était habituellement prévue pour gérer les crises individuelles mais une crise systémique lui a presque cassé les reins. Dans le secteur bancaire, mais aussi dans d’autres secteurs, l’industrie automobile en tête, l’arrivée massive de fonds permettent à des acteurs inefficients de rester en place, limitant ainsi la croissance d’entreprises efficaces ou, peut-être même pire, empêchant l’arrivée de nouvelles entreprises sur le marché. Dans l’Union Européenne, les gouvernements nationaux se sont engagés dans une course aux subventions pour faire basculer les coûts d’ajustement de capacité de l’industrie automobile vers les voisins, comme le démontre le cas d’Opel.

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