LATVIAN COMPETITION AUTHORITY FINES LITHUANIAN COMPANY VAIZGA FOR UNNOTIFIED MERGER

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The Competition Council of Latvia announced that on April 2018 it cleared the proposed acquisition of the Latvian company Petrol Property by the Lithuanian company Vaizga. As Vaizga failed to submit merger notification before closing the transaction, the Competition Council of Latvia initiated a formal investigation. Having found that Vaizga implemented an unnotified merger, the Latvian competition authority imposed on the company EUR 57,419 fine.

Vaizga exercises an indirect decisive influence over VIADA Baltija, which is a fuel retailer in Latvia. Both VIADA Baltija and the newly acquired Petrol Property operates in the vertically related markets of gasoline and diesel (fuel) retail and real estate rental.

Considering the fact that Vaizga submitted a merger notification ten months after implementing the merger transaction, the Latvian Competition Council, in addition to the merger clearance, initiated an investigation into an unnotified merger.

According to the Latvian Competition Law, the competition authority is entitled to impose fine of up to 3% of the net turnover for the failure to submit merger notification in time. Vaizga pleaded guilty and prompted to conclude an administrative agreement. The Lithuanian undertaking paid EUR 57,419 fine into the Latvian state budget.

In Latvia, a merger notification prior its implementation is required if a) the total turnover of merger participants in the previous financial year in Latvia has constituted at least 30 million euros and b) the turnover of at least two merger participants in the previous financial year in Latvia has constituted at least 1.5 million euros each.