The Office for the Protection of Competition has invited the general public to provide comments on its draft guidelines regarding the calculation of turnover for the purposes of merger control notification. The aim is to help merging undertakings to determine whether a transaction requires clearance from the Office for the Protection of Competition.
The Czech Office for Protection of Competition has decided to assist officially merging undertakings in their merger notification. The aim of the newly established process is to facilitate and accelerate merger control proceedings. However, the pre-notification process works on a purely voluntary basis and is not a condition precedent to granting a clearance.
The Competition Office recently found a company active in natural gas import and trade liable for abuse of its dominant position, and thus in breach of both national and EU competition legislation. The Competition Office imposed a fine of Kr240 million. However, in judicial review proceedings the court abolished the Competition Office’s decision.
In June 2007 the Competition Authority issued a new leniency programme. The programme was inspired by the model programme set out by the European Competition Network, as well as the new leniency programme of the European Commission. The new programme introduces various changes, including more detailed conditions for its application.
The European Commission has issued a reasoned opinion formally requesting that the Czech Republic amend a provision of the Czech Competition Act that limits the Competition Authority's power to apply Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty to anti-competitive behaviour in the electronic communications sector.
The Ministry of Work and Social Affairs has received a fine of Kr500,000 from the Office for the Protection of Economic Competition for breaching provisions of the public procurement legislation in failing to open a tender for the delivery of services.
The Competition Office has stayed the proceedings it initiated against Telefónica O2 Czech Republic for the abuse of its dominant position and breach of both national and European competition legislation. The office stayed the proceedings following acceptance of a number of commitments offered by Telefónica.
Parliament has passed a new amendment to the Competition Act in reaction to the new EU antitrust enforcement legislation introduced by EU Regulation 1/2003 on the implementation of the competition rules laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty. Among other things, the amendment introduces a new concept of exempted cartel agreements.
When conducting proceedings and giving decisions on competition matters, the Czech Office for the Protection of Economic Competition is obliged to abide by and comply with its Association Agreement with the European Union and its member states, and the relevant provisions of the EC Treaty.
Decisions of the Czech Office for the Protection of Economic Competition regarding cartel agreements may be appealed before the chairperson of the office, as may any fines imposed. From January 1 2003 the chairperson's decision may be reviewed before the administrative court pursuant to the Act on Judicial Administrative Proceedings.
Two out of three of the Czech Republic's mobile telephony operators have been fined by the Office for the Protection of Economic Competition for misuse of their dominant position in the market. The competent court is now reviewing the office’s ruling to decide whether the high penalties were justified.
Ultimately, the question of whether an entity acquires control of a company as a result of a transaction rests on the circumstances of each individual case. The Czech Office for the Protection of Economic Competition interprets 'control' as the controlling entity's potential ability to influence the conduct, business decisions and activities of the controlled company. Thus, the decisive factor is that a company's activities may be influenced as a result of acquisition.
A merger or concentration need not be notified in the Czech Republic, and nor must approval be sought therein, if it takes place abroad and the common share of the parties involved does not exceed 10% of a relevant market in the Czech Republic.
The Office for the Protection of Economic Competition has introduced a leniency programme in order to discourage prohibited cartel behaviour. The programme targets entities that no longer wish to be a party to a prohibited agreement but are afraid of receiving a large fine as punishment for their activities under it.
The new Act on the Protection of Economic Competition further harmonizes Czech anti-monopoly legislation with that of the European Community, particularly in respect of concentrations of companies.
Including: First Block Exemption Granted; Exceptions
The Czech Office for the Protection of Economic Competition has approved BorsodChem Rt's acquisition of a stake in a Czech company. BorsodChem Rt is one of Europe's largest chemical manufacturers. The economic advantages that would result from the transaction were an important factor in the decision.