22. Sep 16

Cartel Office imposes high fines in response to illegal agreements

Infringements of competition law or antitrust law can prove to be costly for businesses. That much is clear from the annual report for 2015 that was recently published by the Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office.

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: According to the Bundeskartellamt’s annual report, it imposed fines in a total of eleven antitrust proceedings amounting to around 208 million euros on account of illegal agreements in 2015, with these infringements of antitrust law coming from a wide variety of industries. The competition watchdog has already imposed fines totalling 99 million euros for the first half of 2016.

In addition to prosecuting cartels, merger control is another important function of the Bundeskartellamt. The rate of corporate mergers has remained constant in recent years. The Cartel Office made almost 1170 merger decisions in the previous year, with 13 of these proceedings taking place following a more in-depth investigation. One merger was prohibited and another allowed subject to certain conditions.

The figures show that it is important when it comes to mergers and acquisitions for businesses to be well prepared if they are to get the go-ahead from the cartel authorities. This often entails observing international rules and regulations as well as those which apply nationally.

In the event of violations of antitrust law or competition law, this can lead to severe penalties and time-consuming legal disputes. It should be noted here that sanctions imposed by the cartel authorities are not only a prospect in cases involving illegal agreements; even individual contractual clauses can be in breach of competition law and thus give rise to commensurate penalties.

In order to ensure varied and effective competition in the interests of consumers, infringements of competition law, such as, for example, abuse of a dominant market position, may be severely punished. If companies end up being faced with legal actions, lawyers who are versed in the field of antitrust law can offer advice and assume responsibility for fending these off. Conversely, they can also assist in asserting claims against other companies that have violated competition law.

When it comes to mergers, acquisitions and other transactions, it is necessary to consider possible concerns from the perspective of antitrust law. With the help of competent legal advice, it is possible to detect potential difficulties early on and find a solution to overcome any problems.

For more informations: https://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/antitrust-law.html

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