In January 2012 the Competition Authority prohibited a concentration between Sunoko doo and Hellenic Sugar Industry SA (for further details please see "A bitter outcome: Sunoko and Hellenic Sugar merger prohibited"). Sunoko lodged a claim before the Administrative Court, which eventually annulled the authority's decision on the grounds that it lacked sufficient reasoning.

Sunoko and Hellenic Sugar were both involved in the Serbian sugar business. During the procedure before the authority, Sunoko had submitted two proposals with remedies with a view to facilitating the conditional clearance of its intended acquisition of Hellenic Sugar. However, the authority rejected both proposals and prohibited the notified transaction on January 19 2012 after four months of market investigations.

There were two proposals, both of which included:

  • structural measures (the obligation to sell production sites to a non-affiliated party); and
  • behavioural measures (mainly relating to the alignment of domestic and export prices within two years, with a further obligation to provide quarterly reports.)

As no agreement was reached, the authority issued a decision prohibiting the transaction. After the Administrative Court annulled the authority's decision in August, the authority issued a press release stating that the public should be informed on the court's recent practice of frequently annulling its decisions. The major issue raised by the authority is that the Administrative Court has no authority to rule on a competition case without conducting a hearing (no hearing was called for in this case).

It is clear from this recent development that the authority will challenge the Administrative Court's decision before the Supreme Court by lodging an extraordinary legal remedy.

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), fax (+381 11 320 26 10) or email (s.petronijevic@schoenherr.rs).

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