The Competition Council has rendered a decision in which it found that one of the incumbent telecommunications operators in Bosnia and Herzegovina did not enter into a restrictive agreement, as had been alleged in a competitor's request to initiate investigative proceedings.
In May 2011 the Competition Council approved a joint venture between Naftegazojava Innovacionnaja Korporacija and Naftna industrija Srbije. Although it approved the transaction, the council also fined both Naftegazojava Innovacionnaja Korporacija and Naftna industrija Srbije KM70,000 (appoximately €35,000) for breaching the suspension obligation.
The Competition Council recently fined Optima about €100,000 – representing 0.79% of its annual revenue for the year preceding the concentration – for implementing an acquisition of petrol stations without first obtaining clearance. On appeal, the council confirmed its decision to fine Optima, despite the fact that the acquisition was ultimately cleared.
The Annual Report of the Competition Council summarises the current state of competition rules in Bosnia and Herzegovina and outlines the developments that occurred in the previous year. At institutional level, the capacity of the council has been strengthened: several new positions have been established and new officers admitted. Thus, additional experts on competition and legal matters have been hired, as has an internal translator.
The Competition Council has completed its investigation into Komunalno Brcko, a public company set up by the district of Brcko, following a joint complaint by several providers of communal utility services. It had been alleged that Komunalno Brcko entered into restrictive agreements with the district, notwithstanding public procurement procedures and other relevant legislative and administrative regulations.
The Competition Authority has enacted secondary legislation based on the Competition Law. The Leniency Regulation explains the terms on which a party to a restrictive agreement may obtain a full exemption or reduced fine. The authority has also issued regulations on merger control, although its interpretation of the two merger thresholds - local and worldwide - arguably deviates from the rule set out in the law.
The Competition Council has cleared the acquisition by the Optima Group of eight petrol stations located in Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, the council imposed a €100,000 fine on Optima for breaching the Competition Act by failing to notify the transaction to the council within the statutory 15-day deadline and implementing the transaction irrespective of the suspension obligation.
Amendments to the Competition Act have been adopted, in particular in relation to merger control rules. The amendments stipulate new merger notification thresholds, extend the notification deadline and reinforce the suspension clause with a fine for closing a transaction prior to obtaining formal clearance of up to 10% of the total annual turnover of the undertaking in question.