On 25 August 2015, the Swedish Competition Authority (“SCA”) approved the acquisition of Westan Logistik AB (“Westan”) by Reaxcer AB (“Reaxcer”). Westan is a transport management company owned by independent haulage companies. Reaxcer is a truck central also owned by independent haulage companies that provides services within, e.g., the transport and logistics industries. Both parties are active on the market for round timber transport services.
The SCA concluded that the proposed merger does not raise any competition concerns, even though the acquisition will strengthen Reaxcer's position on the market for round timber transport, particularly in certain counties of Sweden. According to the SCA, sufficient alternative suppliers remain active on the market and barriers to entry to the market are low. Source: Swedish Competition Authority Press Release 27/08/2015 and Swedish Competition Authority Decision 25/08/2015
On 27 August 2015, the Swedish Competition Authority ("SCA") brought an appeal before the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court concerning the applicability of the rules on public procurement to Statens servicecenter, an authority responsible for handling of State employee salaries.
Shortly after its establishment Statens servicecenter procured consultancy services worth approximately SEK 20 million without applying the rules on public procurement due to urgency reasons. The SCA brought the matter before the Swedish administrative court claiming that Statens servicecenter acted in breach of the rules on public procurement. The administrative court rejected the action, which decision the SCA further appealed before the Swedish administrative court of appeal. The Swedish administrative court of appeal rejected the SCA's appeal in its entirety. The SCA has now further appealed the matter before the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court requesting the court to provide further guidance on the definition of "extreme urgency" within the meaning of the Public Procurement Act. Source: Swedish Competition Authority Press Release 28/08/2015
On 28 August 2015, the Swedish Competition Authority ("SCA") announced an investigation into certain contractual provisions applied by a Swedish municipality in the context of the provision of home services. The SCA's investigation revealed that several contractual provisions applied by the municipality were in breach of the principle of proportionality. According to the SCA, the municipality had unlawfully restricted its suppliers' possibilities to use subcontractors by limiting the tasks for which subcontractors could be used. Such a limitation may lead to the lessening of competition amongst suppliers of home services in the context of the Swedish "system of choice" (valfrihetssystemet), as smaller suppliers often have to rely on subcontractors in order to be able to participate therein. Source:Swedish Competition Authority Press Release 28/08/2015
On 27 August 2015, the Swedish Competition Authority ("SCA") published the results of its mapping study concerning procurement fines. The SCA's study revealed that the imposition of fines has led to the majority of authorities changing their procurement practices to be compatible with the Public Procurement Act. Based on the amendment of the Public Procurement Act five years ago municipalities, State authorities and other organizations may be fined up to a maximum of SEK 10 million for a breach of the procurement rules. Since the coming into force of the amendment, the SCA has submitted 62 applications for the imposition of a procurement fines to the Swedish administrative court, the majority of which the court has either fully or partly upheld.
According to the SCA's study, the amendment has led to i.a. organizational changes, amendment of procurement practices as well as competence development and trainings. Source: Swedish Competition Authority Press Release 27/08/2015
In addition, kindly note the following merger control decisions by the Commission which are published on the website of the Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition:
- Commission approves acquisition of Butagaz by DCC
- Commission approves acquisition of NKBM by Apollo in banking sector
- Commission approves acquisition of certain Kuoni subsidiaries by REWE ZF in travel service sector
- Commission approves acquisition of Fokker by GKN
- Commission approves acquisition of C&W by DTZ in real estate sector
- Commission approves two joint ventures between Evo Payments and Raiffeisen
- Commission approves acquisition of Valida by Raiffeisen Zentralbank
- Commission approves joint venture by Mahindra World City Developers and Sumitomo