KT FINES UAB LUKOIL BALTIJA FOR IMPLEMENTING UNAUTHORISED MERGERS
The Competition Council of the Republic of Lithuania (Konkurencijos taryba, KT) today has imposed a fine of LTL 1,177,600 (approx. EUR 341,057) on UAB Lukoil Baltija for implementing mergers without the KT’s authorisation and ordered the undertaking to terminate the infringement.
The investigation has established that by concluding a joint-activity agreement with UAB Okseta, UAB Lukoil Baltija took over management of two petrol stations in Kaunas (in January 2008) and one petrol station in Klaipėda (in June 2008). UAB Lukoil Baltija has thus acquired control over these petrol stations, and, by implementing these mergers without getting a clearance from the KT, it has infringed the Law on Competition.
In addition to issuing a fine, the KT has also ordered UAB Lukoil Baltija to terminate the infringement. This may be accomplished by either terminating the implemented mergers or notifying them to the KT. If the KT were to receive such a notification, it would carry out a thorough assessment to decide whether the mergers could be cleared.
The KT notes that merger control aims at monitoring changes in market structures and preventing mergers leading to a creation or strengthening of a dominant position or otherwise significantly restricting competition. To ensure that merger control is effective, all firms involved in mergers must fulfil the statutory duty to notify the KT about their intended mergers and to obtain an authorisation from the KT before implementing such mergers. Unauthorised implementation of a merger severely infringes the Law on Competition, regardless of whether the merger resulted in the restriction of competition.
Mergers (Concentrations) are cases when two independent undertakings merge or when one undertaking gains control over another. As these changes may restrict effective competition in a relevant market, mergers involving firms that exceed turnover limits established in the Law on Competition must be cleared by the KT. The KT authorises only such mergers that will not have significant adverse effects on the conditions of competition.
Communication DivisionCompetition Council Spokesperson