The Competition Authority recently adopted new guidelines on merger control conditions and obligations. The authority also recently approved a concentration in the financial leasing market and announced an investigation into the banking sector.

Guideline on merger control conditions and obligations adopted

The Competition Authority recently adopted guidelines on merger control conditions and obligations intended to comply with the European Commission notice on remedies acceptable under EU Regulations 139/2004 and 802/2004.(1)

These guidelines define the parameters for the commitments that parties to a merger must often make in order to eliminate competition concerns identified by the Competition Authority during its merger control assessment. If the parties fail to alleviate competition concerns by offering these commitments, the authority will prohibit the transaction. The ultimate goal of the guidelines is to ensure the proportionality of the remedies.

At present, the text of the guidelines is available only in Albanian.

Competition Authority clears transaction in financial leasing market

The Competition Authority recently approved Raiffeisen Leasing JSC's takeover of Tirana Leasing JSC, despite the fact that the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) shows that the financial leasing market (in which the parties operate) is highly concentrated. Before the transaction, the financial leasing market had an HHI value of 2,648. After the transaction the HHI value was 4,447 – an increase of 1,799 points, demonstrating a significant increase in concentration.

According to the Instruction on Horizontal Concentrations, when assessing a transaction and its effects on the relevant market the Competition Authority should also take into account the reaction of competitors operating in that market. In this case, the authority concluded that despite the high level of concentration, the financial leasing market is an open market with a significant number of potential players. Business conditions are the same for all undertakings and are prescribed by the National Bank of Albania. Therefore, this transaction will not restrict the ability of other market participants to compete.

Competition Authority investigates banking sector

Certain indications (eg, high profits) have led the Competition Authority to conclude that competition in the banking sector may be limited or distorted as a result or consequence of violation of Articles 4 (prohibited agreements) or 9 (abuse of dominant position) of the Law on Protection of Competition (9121/2003), as amended.

Thus the authority has decided to initiate an investigation into the banking sector as a whole in order to assess whether competition is being limited or distorted as a result of the behaviour of one or more banks. The investigation will cover a nine-month period between 2014 and 2015 and take up to six months to complete.

For further information on this topic please contact Srdjana Petronijevic at Moravcevic Vojnovic i Partneri in cooperation with Schoenherr by telephone (+381 11 320 26 00) or email (s.petronijevic@schoenherr.rs). The Moravcevic Vojnovic i Partneri website can be accessed at www.schoenherr.rs.

Endnotes

(1) 52008XC1022 (01); OJ C 267, October 22 2008, p1-27.

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