SUPREME ADMINISTRATIVE COURT OF LITHUANIA UPHOLDS ALMOST 1 M FINE FOR UNNOTIFIED MERGER
The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania (Court) rejected the claim of the company Kauno grūdai confirming EUR 947,700 fine imposed on it for an unnotified merger.
The Court found there was no legal ground to change the ruling of Vilnius Regional Administrative Court upholding the decision of Konkurencijos taryba which revealed that Kauno grūdai, having acquired about 51 per cent of Vievio paukštynas shares and control over the company, implemented an unnotified merger.
According to the Court, when imposing the fine, Konkurencijos taryba properly assessed the seriousness of the infringement taking into account the type, gravity and duration of it. Besides, the authority properly established an aggravating circumstance, i. e. that Kauno grūdai concealed the infringement and sought to avoid merger control procedure set by the Law on Competition.
When examining similar cases, the Court has noted that implementing a merger without its prior notification to Konkurencijos taryba and receiving its permission is a serious infringement since an unnotified merger may result in significant changes in merger conditions.
In 2015 Konkurencijos taryba launched the investigation into the actions of the aforementioned company in accordance with the ruling of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania. The court found that by entering into fictitious transactions, on 12 April 2011 Kauno grūdai acquired about 51 per cent of Vievio paukštynas shares. As a result of these transactions, the real party of the transaction – Kauno grūdai – was concealed.
The ruling of the Court is final and binding.