It targets anticompetitive agreements, abuse of dominant position through predatory pricing, and lays down rules for merger notifications taking a rule of reason approach and giving notable importance to efficiency gains.

Law 4956/13 On the Defense of Competition was promulgated on June 21, 2013.

The scope of the Law includes state monopolies and has extraterritorial reach to the extent that the anticompetitive conduct affects the local market.

The regulations target anticompetitive agreements, abuse of dominant position and abuse of dominant position through predatory pricing, and lay down rules for merger notification. The Law takes a rule of reason approach in most instances and gives notable importance to efficiency gains.

Anti-competitive Agreements

As regards anticompetitive agreements, it prohibits those leading to –
 
  • price fixing, or other transaction terms, in an abusive manner;
  • restricting output, distribution, technical development, investments or the market, without justification;
  • allocating markets;
  • applying different terms, without justification, to similar transactions resulting in a competitive disadvantage to the other party;
  • tying;
  • collusive bidding;
  • restricting output or sales in particular by means of market quotas;
  • refusal to purchase; and
  • refusal to participate in an agreement deemed critical for competition.

The above practices are not deemed to be per se illegal but would be tested against efficiency gains.

Abuse of Dominant Position

Dominance is defined as a position where an undertaking is not exposed to effective and substantial competition. Criteria to determine the existence of a dominant position are described as follows:

  • extent to which the good or service may be substituted, conditions and time necessary;
  • extent to which regulations restrict market entry; and
  • extent to which a competitor may unilaterally influence pricing or restrict supply or demand, and the extent to which competitors may counter such conduct.
Market dominance is not per se illegal according to the Law, but the abuse of a dominant position. Certain practices in particular may constitute an abuse of dominance:
 
  • fixing prices or other inequitable business terms;
  • restricting output, distribution or technical development, without justification;
  • refusal to sell, without justification;
  • applying different terms to similar transactions, without justification;
  • tying;
  • threatening to discontinue to deal in order to obtain or attempt to obtain more favorable terms exceeding agreed terms.

Abuse of Dominant Position through Predatory Pricing

Provisions addressing abuse of dominant position through predatory pricing bring two prohibitions as follows –
 
  • selling at prices below production cost or profit margin, without justification, with the purpose of driving competitors out of the market; and
  • selling at prices below purchase, or restocking, or profit margin, without justification, with the purpose of driving competitors out of the market.
The prohibitions will not apply to perishables, obsolete stock, goods that can be restocked at a lower price, goods sold at the same price as another competitor in the relevant market considering time and territory, or stock clearances.

The competition authority in coordination with the Trade Ministry may determine costs at origin in accordance with antidumping regulations.

Abusive Tying Arrangements

Tying arrangements on a contractual basis are prohibited when the effect is exclusionary or exploitative, causing a serious damage to competitors and suppliers.

Merger Notification

Mergers and acquisitions of control are subject to merger review, including the purchase of assets and joint ventures. However, pre-merger notification is not mandatory.

The parties to a merger, or individually the party that acquires control, are required to file notice within 10 days following closing, publication of purchase offer, or acquisition of participation in the following cases –
 
  • the transaction increases to, or exceeds 45% of the relevant market for a specific good or service; or
  • the transaction exceeds 100000 minimum monthly salaries according to the latest fiscal year figures.
The competition authority must rule within 90 days giving clearance or not, or passing the transaction subject to conditions. Silence on the part of the authority will be deemed to constitute assent.