From the enforcer: Competition Authority

Sweden: from the enforcer

Address: Postal address: Konkurrensverket, 103 85 Stockholm, Sweden
Visiting address: Ringvägen100, 8th floor, 118 60 Stockholm
Tel: +46 8 700 16 00
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.konkurrensverket.se

Contacts

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Rikard Jermsten
Director General
Tel: +46 8 700 1605
Email: [email protected]

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Karin Lunning
Deputy Director General and Head of Administrative Support Unit
Tel: +46 8 700 1642
Email: [email protected]

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Hanna Witt
Chief Development Officer and Head of Financial and HR Unit
Tel: +46 8 700 16 44
Email: [email protected]

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Marie Östman
Chief Legal Officer and Headof Litigation Unit
Tel: +46 8 700 15 44
Email: [email protected]

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Arvid Fredenberg
Chief Economist and Headof Chief Economist’s Unit
Tel: +46 8 700 1541
Email: [email protected]

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Ann Fryksdahl
Head of General Procurement Supervision Unit
Tel: +46 8 700 16 87
Email: [email protected]

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Malin de Jounge
Head of Illegal Direct Awards Unit
Tel: +46 8 700 1586
Email: [email protected]

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Martin Mandorff
Head of Market Abuse Unit
Tel: +46 8 700 1553
Email:[email protected]

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Hanna Lekås
Head of Cartels and Mergers Unit
Tel: +46 8 700 15 71
Email: [email protected]

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Nikos Tsakiridis
Head of Advocacy and Research Unit
Tel: +46 8 700 1555
Email: [email protected]

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Erika Svärdh
Head of Communications and IT Unit
Tel: +46 8 700 1650
Email: [email protected]

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Tove Kockum
Head of Legal and International Affairs Unit
Tel: +46 8 700 1677
Email: [email protected]

Questions and answers

How long is the head of agency’s term of office?

The term for the director general is six years, with the possibility of renewal for a further three years.

When is he or she due for reappointment?

The director general took up his position in September 2017. His mandate expires in 2023.

Which posts within the organisation are political appointments?

None.

What is the agency’s annual budget?

The budget allocated to the Swedish Competition Authority (SCA), as stipulated in the Government Appropriation Directive for 2020, is  155,431,000 kronor. In addition, the SCA is allocated a separate budget of  10,804,000 kronor for funding research.

How many staff are employed by the agency?

The SCA had 141 employees (full-time equivalents) in 2019, most of whom are lawyers or economists.

To whom does the head of the agency report?

The Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation. The minister for Enterprise and Innovation is Mr Ibrahim Baylan.

Do any industry-specific regulators have competition powers?

There are no industry-specific regulators or other agencies with powers to apply the Competition Act.

If so, how do these relate to your role?

Not applicable.

Do politicians have any right to overrule or disregard the decisions of the authority?

No.

Does the law allow non-competition aims to be considered when taking decisions?

No, with one specific exception: a concentration between undertakings can be prohibited under the Competition Act only if a prohibition can be issued without significantly setting aside national security or essential supply interests. However, this provision has not been applied thus far.

Which body hears appeals against the agency’s decisions? Is there any form of judicial review beyond that mentioned above? If so, which body conducts this?

SCA’s decisions, such as prohibiting mergers and obliging firms to terminate infringements of the Competition Act and articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union can be appealed to the Patent and Market Court and further to the Patent and Market Court of Appeal.

The SCA is currently not empowered to impose fines for infringements of the Competition Act or subject firms to dawn raids. Such cases are brought by the SCA before the Patent and Market Court, with the possibility of appeal to the Patent and Market Court of Appeal.

The SCA may issue fine orders if the infringement is established and the parties agree to forego court procedure. Fine orders made by the SCA are considered equivalent to legally binding judgments and may only be set aside by a court under certain special conditions.

However a legislative proposal has proposed granting the SCA the power to impose fines for infringements as of February 2021, see further below. Such decisions would be appealable to the Patent and Market Court and Patent and Market Court of Appeal.

Has the authority ever blocked a proposed merger?

As of 1 January 2018, the SCA has been granted the power to make decisions to block a merger. Prior to this date, the SCA had to bring an action before the Patent and Market Court to block a merger.In 2019, the SCA prohibited a deal which we found would significantly impede effective competition with regard to well-known Swedish cheese brands. The decision was appealed, but owing to obstacles to the implementation of the merger arising from an arbitration decision, no ruling on the merger was made in substance.

Has the authority ever imposed conditions on a proposed merger?

Yes, there are several examples where parties have made commitments to eliminate adverse effects of the concentration.

Has the authority conducted a Phase II investigation in any of its merger filings?

Yes.

Has the authority ever pursued a company based outside your jurisdiction for a cartel offence?

No.

Do you operate a leniency programme? Whom should potential applicants contact?

Yes, furthermore the SCA has issued general guidelines on reduction and immunity from fines. Potential applicants should contact the SCA’s leniency coordinator via our website www.kkv.se.

Is there a criminal enforcement track? If so, who is responsible for it?

No.

Are there any plans to reform the competition law?

In February 2020 the government presented a proposal to grant the Authority decision-making powers for competition fines and investigative fines. This was proposed to enter into force in February 2021 alongside the transposition of the ECN+ Directive into Swedish law, which will among other things introduce sanctionsfor companies that do not comply with dawn raids, interviews and requests for information. The government has now consulted upon the proposals but at time of writing no final legislative proposal has been published.  

When did the last review of the law occur?

The reformed Competition Act entered into force on 1 November 2008, which included new sanctions and amendments to the merger control rules. Subsequent amendments have been made to the reformed Competition Act in order to achieve greater efficiency in processing competition law cases and more efficient competition on the market to the benefit of the consumers. The most recent revision of the Competition Act came into force on 1 January 2018, with the effect that the SCA can make decisions to block mergers, which can be appealed first to the Patent and Market Court and ultimately to the Patent and Market Court of Appeal. Prior to this point the SCA had to raise actions in court to prohibit mergers.

Do you have a separate economics team? If so please give details.

Yes, the Chief Economist's Unitis responsible for economic analysis.

Has the authority conducted a dawn raid?

Yes.

Has the authority imposed penalties on officers or directors of companies for offences committed by the company?

No.

What are the pre-merger notification thresholds, if any, for the buyer and seller involved in a merger?

A concentration shall be notified to the SCA if:

  • the combined aggregate turnover in Sweden of the undertakings concerned in the preceding financial year exceeds 1 billion kronor; and
  • at least two of the undertakings concerned had a turnover in Sweden the preceding financial year that exceeds 200 million kronor for each of the undertakings. A concentration should be notified by the merging parties or the party or parties acquiring control.

If the turnover requirement is fulfilled, but the turnover does not exceed the amount specified, the SCA may, in a particular case, require a party to a concentration to notify the concentration where particular grounds exist for doing so. A party and other participants in a concentration always have the right to voluntarily notify a concentration, where the turnover requirement is fulfilled.

The undertakings concerned are normally the merging undertakings or undertakings acquiring control and the undertaking over which control is being acquired.

Are there any restrictions on minority investments?

There are no specific restrictions on minority investments. The definition of a concentration in Sweden follows from the Competition Act. A concentration within the meaning of the Competition Act arises when:

  • two or more previously independent undertakings merge; or
  • one or more persons, already controlling at least one undertaking or one or more undertakings, acquire, whether by purchase of securities or assets, by contract or by any other means, direct or indirect control of the whole or parts of one or more undertakings.

The creation of a joint venture, which on a lasting basis fulfils all the functions of an autonomous economic entity, constitutes a concentration within the meaning of the second point above.

What discounts are available to companies that cooperate with cartel investigations?

First type of immunity

The SCA grants an undertaking immunity from any fine that would otherwise have been imposed if:

  • the undertaking is the first to notify the SCA of an anticompetitive cooperation; and
  • the notification submitted by the undertaking contains information that will enable the SCA to carry out a targeted inspection.

To be granted immunity, the undertaking must also satisfy the following cumulative cooperation conditions:

  • it must provide all information it has concerning the infringement (such as the illegal anticompetitive cooperation);
  • it must cooperate fully with the SCA throughout the investigation;
  • it must not destroy evidence or hinder the SCA’s investigation; and
  • it must end its involvement in the illegal cooperation.

Immunity from fines will not be granted if the undertaking has coerced another undertaking to participate in the illegal anticompetitive cooperation.

Second and third type of immunity
In cases where the SCA already has enough evidence to carry out a targeted inspection and no undertaking has met the conditions of the first type of leniency, the SCA will grant an undertaking immunity of any fine that would otherwise have been imposed if:

  • the undertaking is the first to submit evidence that, in the SCA’s view, enables the finding of an infringement (such as an illegal anticompetitive cooperation); or
  • the undertaking provides highly significant assistance to the investigation of the infringement.

To be granted immunity, the undertaking must satisfy the cooperation conditions described under the first type of immunity. However, immunity will not be granted if the undertaking has coerced another undertaking to participate in the illegal anticompetitive cooperation.

Reduction of fines
Undertakings that do not qualify for immunity may benefit from a reduction of any fine that would otherwise have been imposed. In order to qualify for a reduction of fines, the undertaking must provide the SCA with evidence of the alleged illegal anticompetitive cooperation that represents significant added value relative to the evidence already in the SCA’s possession at the time of the application.

The fines of the first undertaking to fulfil the conditions for reduction of fines will be reduced by between 30 and 50 per cent in relation to the level the SCA would otherwise have proposed. The fines of the second undertaking to fulfil the conditions will be reduced by between 20 and 30 per cent. The fines of other undertakings that fulfil the relevant conditions will be reduced by up to 20 per cent.

To determine the level of reduction of fines within the stated intervals, the SCA will take into consideration the point in time that the evidence was submitted and the degree to which value was added. The SCA will also consider the degree of cooperation and the continuity of cooperation of the undertaking after the evidence was submitted.

To qualify for a reduction of fines, the under-taking must meet the same cooperation conditions as for immunity.

Does the authority conduct criminal investigations and prosecutions for cartel activity? If not, is there another authority in the country that does?

Not applicable


Sweden: from the enforcer's competition economists

Address: Postal address: Konkurrensverket,  SE-103 85 Stockholm, Sweden
Visiting address: Ringvägen 100, 8th floor, 118 60 Stockholm
Tel: +46 8 700 16 00
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.konkurrensverket.se

Contacts

image-20201215124644-1
Rikard Jermsten
Director General
Tel: +46 8 700 1605
Email: [email protected]

image-20201215124644-2
Karin Lunning
Deputy Director General and Head of Administrative Support Unit
Tel: +46 8 700 1642
Email: [email protected]

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Arvid Fredenberg
Chief Economist
Tel: +46 8 700 1541
Email: [email protected]

Questions and answers

How many economists do you employ? How many have PhDs in industrial economics?

The Swedish Competition Authority has around  37 economists (in the field of competition). Twelvehave PhDs,  sevenof them in industrial organisation.

How are these economists distributed within the organisation? Do you have a separate economics unit, or ‘bureau’?

There is a separate Chief Economist’s Unit that comprises eleveneconomists.

Do you have a chief economist?

Yes, Arvid Fredenberg is the chief economist and headof the Chief Economist’s Unit.

To whom does the chief economist report?

To the director general.

Does the chief economist have the power to hire his or her own staff?

Yes.

In addition to having or not having a unit, does the agency include a specialist economist on every case team?

Yes, in general.

How much economics work is outsourced? Of this outsourcing, what percentage is specific to particular cases, and what percentage is part of general research and development?

The authority has a special government appropriation for general research in economics and law, including public procurement (approximately  11 million kronor (€ 1.067 million)). The bulk of the funds are distributed following a peer review process, undertaken by a scientific council attached to the authority. In certain cases the authority procures services from economic (and other) experts to support the case teams. The percentage varies, depending on the cases.

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