On July 27 2013 the Competition Authority published a notice underlining the importance of compliance with merger filing obligations.

In the notice the authority stressed that the four years that have passed since the Competition Act was enacted constitute a reasonable time period for all market participants to have familiarised themselves with the act. The notice intended to send a clear message that failure to comply with the merger filing obligations (specifically, timely notification and observation of the suspension obligation) will be considered as a serious infringement.

For information purposes, the authority refered to a European Commission decision of June 10 2009, in a case in which Belgian company Electrabel SA had acquired control of France-based Compagnie Nationale du Rhone SA before the merger had been cleared by the commission. As a result, the commission imposed a fine of €20 million on Electrabel.

Since the authority was established, it has not issued a single decision imposing a fine for failure to notify or failure to suspend a concentration before obtaining merger clearance.Therefore, this notice can be interpreted as an announcement, or even a warning, to all market participants that the authority intends to implement the Competition Act consistently.

Pursuant to the act, non-observance of the merger suspension obligation may result in a fine of up to 10% of the total annual turnover.

This article was first published by the International Law Office, a premium online legal update service for major companies and law firms worldwide. Register for a free subscription.