From the enforcer: Competition and Consumer Authority

Denmark: from the enforcer 

Address: Carl Jacobsens Vej 35, 2500 Valby, Denmark
Tel: +45 41 71 50 00
Fax: +45 41 71 51 00
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.en.kfst.dk

Contacts

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Jakob Hald
Director General
Tel: +45 41 71 50 01
Email: [email protected]

image-20201214111812-4
Jacob Schaumburg-Müller
Deputy Director General
Tel: +45 41 71 51 18
Email: [email protected]

image-20201214111812-5
Mette Rose Skaksen
Deputy Director General
Tel: +45 41 71 50 04
Email: [email protected]

image-20201214111812-6
Bitten Thorgaard Sørensen
Deputy Director General
Tel: +45 41 71 50 03
Email: [email protected]

Questions and answers

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

The head of agency’s current term of office is five years, but he has been reappointed for three years from 1 January 2021.

When is he or she due for reappointment?

The head of agency is due for reappointment on 1 January 2024.

Which posts within the organisation are political appointments?

The director is formally appointed by the government after consultation of the Competition Council.

What is the agency’s annual budget?

The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (the Authority) competition-related budget for 2019 was 89.9 million kroner inclusive of overheads.

How many staff are employed by the agency?

In 2019, 91 full-time equivalents worked on competition enforcement, advocacy and policy.

To whom does the head of the agency report?

In competition cases, the Authority refers to the Danish Competition Council. The Council decides on all major cases and on competition analysis on the basis of submissions made by the Authority.

In general administrative matters, the head of the Authority refers to the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs.

Do any industry-specific regulators have competition powers?

There is no provision in the Danish Competition Act granting competition powers to any industry-specific regulators. The Danish Business Authority can refer a merger between two or more commercial providers of electronic communication networks in Denmark to the Authority. The assessment of whether the merger shall be approved or prohibited is made by the Authority.

If so, how do these relate to your role?

The power of the Danish Business Authority consists solely in a right to refer certain mergers. The power to either approve or prohibit the merger lies with the Authority and the Danish Competition Council.

May politicians overrule or disregard authority’s decisions? If they have ever exercised this right, describe the most recent example.

In general, politicians do not have the right to overrule or disregard decisions of the Authority in matters of competition enforcement. However, if an anticompetition practice is considered to be a direct or necessary consequence of public regulation, the Danish Competition Act does not apply. It is the minister responsible for the regulation concerned who decides whether the practice is a direct or necessary consequence of public regulation.

Does the law allow non-competition aims to be considered when your agency takes decisions?

The law does not allow non-competition aims to be considered when taking decisions.

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? Has any competition decision by the agency been overturned?

As the Authority has no power to impose fines, the enforcement of the Danish Competition Act is bifurcated between the Authority and the State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime (SEIC). The Authority has the power to make administrative decisions and issue orders requiring that undertakings terminate infringements. Most of these decisions can be brought before the Competition Appeals Tribunal. In few cases, parties have to go directly to the courts. The decisions of the Competition Appeals Tribunal can be appealed to the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court. Final appeals are permitted to either the High Court or the Supreme Court.

The State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime (SEIC) has jurisdiction to initiate criminal prosecutions for the imposition of fines or imprisonment for competition law infringements. Criminal cases start at the civil courts with appeal to the High Court.

Has the authority ever blocked a proposed merger? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.

Yes, the Danish Competition Council has in one instance blocked a merger and has in addition had a number of cases where the parties have withdrawn their merger notifications after the Authority conducted comprehensive investigations and expressed competition concerns.

Has the authority ever imposed conditions on a proposed merger? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.

Yes, on numerous occasions, most recently in June 2020 in the case SEAS/Radius.

Has the authority conducted a Phase II investigation in any of its merger filings? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.

Yes, the Authority regularly conducts Phase II investigations. On average about two to five times a year, most recently in the case Huskompagniet/eurodan during spring 2020.

Has the authority ever pursued a company based outside your jurisdiction for a cartel offence? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.

The Authority has never pursued a company based outside our jurisdiction.

Do you operate an immunity and leniency programme? Whom should potential applicants contact? What discounts are available to companies that cooperate with cartel investigations?

Yes, applications should be submitted to the Authority. If the State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime (SEIC) has already initiated a criminal case concerning the cartel – in other words, if the SEIC is in the process of investigating the cartel or has brought a charge against an undertaking or a person the application may also be submitted to the SEIC.

If an application is submitted to the SEIC at a time at which the SEIC has not already started a case, the SEIC will refer the applicant to the Authority.

Is there a criminal enforcement track? If so, who is responsible for it? Does the authority conduct criminal investigations and prosecutions for cartel activity? If not, is there another authority in the country that does?

Sanctions for infringements of the Danish Competition Act are imposed by the court acting upon a charge brought by the SEIC. In the vast majority of cases, it is the SEIC that prosecutes undertakings and individuals, acting upon a notification by the Competition Council. Generally, the SEIC has the sole power to impose fines, if the offender agrees to a settlement. As an exemption, the Authority can, with the consent of the SEIC, issue an administrative notice of a fine in cases in which the maximum penalty is a fine. Such fines are also criminal penalties.

Under the Act, undertakings and individuals can be fined for infringement of the Act. Since 1 March 2013, it has been possible to sentence a person to prison in cartel cases.

Are there any plans to reform the competition law?

Due to the transposition of the ECN+-Directive amendments of the Competition Act are expected in the near future.

When did the last review of the law occur?

The latest amendments to the Competition Act were adopted by the Danish Parliament in late 2017 and came into force on 1 January 2018.

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

Yes, the Authority has a Market Analysis and Economics Division with 13 full-time employees and 3 part time students working in competition matters.

Has the authority conducted a dawn raid?

Yes, in the past five years, the Authority has conducted on average six dawn raids per year.

Has the authority imposed penalties on officers or directors of companies for offences committed by the company? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.

In Denmark, all penalties are criminal by nature and it is the courts that impose sanctions to undertakings and individuals for infringements of the Danish Competition Act. However, the State Prosecutor for the SEIC also has the power to impose fines if the offender agrees to a settlement. Such fines are also criminal penalties. As an exemption, the Authority can issue an administrative notice of a fine in cases in which the maximum penalty is a fine. This can only be done under certain circumstances and with the consent of the SEIC. In 2019, fines were imposed in seven groups of cases for competition law offences.

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

A merger must be notified to the Authority if:

  • the undertakings concerned have a total aggregate annual turnover in Denmark of at least 900 million kroner and at least two of the undertakings concerned have a total annual turnover in Denmark of at least 100 million kroner each; or
  • at least one of the undertakings concerned has a total annual turnover in Denmark of at least 3.8 billion kroner and at least one of the other undertakings concerned has a total worldwide annual turnover of at least 3.8 billion kroner.

The Danish Business Authority, in accordance with the Act on electronic communications networks, has to refer a merger between two or more commercial providers of electronic communications networks in Denmark to the Authority. Only mergers concerning electronic communications networks where the undertakings have a combined total annual turnover in Denmark of at least 900 million kroner can be referred.

Are there any restrictions on investments that involve less than a majority stake in the business?

No. The Authority applies the same definition of control as the EU.


Denmark: from the enforcer's competition economists

Address: Carl Jacobsens Vej 35, 2500 Valby, Denmark
Tel: +45 41 71 50 00
Fax: +45 41 71 51 00
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.en.kfst.dk

Contacts

image 0
Jakob Hald
Director General
Tel: +45 41 71 50 01
Email: [email protected]

image-20201214111812-4
Jacob Schaumburg-Müller
Deputy Director General
Tel: +45 41 71 51 18
Email: [email protected]

image-20201214111812-5
Mette Rose Skaksen
Deputy Director General
Tel: +45 41 71 50 04
Email: [email protected]

image-20201214111812-6
Bitten Thorgaard Sørensen
Deputy Director General
Tel: +45 41 71 50 03
Email: [email protected]

Questions and answers

How many economists do you employ?

The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority employs 32 economists working with competition, advocacy and policy.

Do you have a separate economics unit, or ‘bureau’?

Yes, the authority has a Market Analysis and Economics Division with 13 full-time employees and three part-time students.

Do you have a chief economist?

Yes, however the position is currently vacant. Ann- Kathrine Ejsing is acting interim chief economist.

To whom does the chief economist report?

The chief economist reports to the director general, Jakob Hald, who has the overall responsibility for the agency’s economic analyses.

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

No.

How many of your economists have a PhD in industrial economics?

In the Market Analysis and Economics Division, there are four employees with a PhD in economics, and in the Digital Platforms Division, one employee has a PhD in economics.

Does the agency include a specialist economist on every case team? If not, why not?

Usually an economist is included in each case team – either an officer with an economics degree from the relevant division or from the economics unit.

Is the economics unit a ‘second pair of eyes’ during cases – is it one of the agency’s checks and balances? If not, why not?

Yes. The economics unit peer reviews all cases. Moreover, the unit often assists the case officers in preparing the case.

How much economics work is outsourced? What type of work is outsourced?

Occasionally, consultancy firms conduct analyses that are used as contributions to larger projects, or as an independent benchmark to analyses made in-house.

Organisation chart

Organisation chart

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