Slovakia: Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic
Slovakia
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Slovakia: Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic

Slovakia: Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic

Slovakia

Slovakia: from the enforcer

Address: Drienova 24, 826 03 Bratislava, Slovakia
Tel: +421 2 48 297 111
Fax: +421 2 43 333 572
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.antimon.gov.sk 

Contacts

Tibor Menyhart
Chairman
Tel: +421 2 4333 7305
Fax: +421 2 4829 7365

Boris Gregor
Deputy Chairman
Tel: +421 2 4333 1126
Fax: +421 2 4333 1126

ZuzanaBonova
Secretary general
Tel: +421 2 4333 7305
Fax: +421 2 4829 7365

Jana Krivosudska
Director, Economic Division and Chairman Division
Tel: +421 2 4829 7380
Fax: +421 2 4333 3572

Michaela Nosa
Director, Legislative, Legal and Foreign Relations Division
Tel: +421 2 4333 1092
Fax: +421 2 4333 3572

Daniela Lukacova
Director, Second Instance Division
Tel: +421 2 4333 3596
Fax: +421 2 4333 3572

Emil Vojtko
Director, Abuse of a Dominant Position and Vertical Agreements Division
Tel: +421 2 4333 0149
Fax: +421 2 4333 3572

Zuzana Minarovjech
Director, Cartels Division
Tel: +421 2 4333 4045
Fax: +421 2 4333 3572

Erika Lovasova
Director, Concentrations Division
Tel: +421 2 4333 4072
Fax: +421 2 4333 3572

Sona Drobova
Director, Division of State Aid
Tel: +421 2 4829 7215
Fax: +421 2 4333 3572

Questions and answers

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

The term of office of the chairperson is five years. He or she may be reappointed for two consecutive terms.

When is he or she due for reappointment?

The current chairman started his second term of office in November 2016.

Which posts within the organisation are political appointments?

None.

What is the agency’s annual budget?

The approved budget of the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic (the Office) for 2020 is €3.3 million.

How many staff are employed by the agency?

As at 1 August 2020, there are 70 employees at the Office. Of these, 26 are professional lawyers, 19 are economists and 14 are professionals from other industries.

To whom does the head of the agency report?

The Office is an independent central state administrative body. Its chairperson is appointed on the proposal of the government by the President of Slovakia. The chairperson may not be recalled from his or her function except for the reasons set out in the Act on Protection of Competition (the Act).

Do any industry-specific regulators have competition powers?

Yes. However, they are not entrusted with the enforcement of articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, their national counterparts or the merger control regime.

If so, how do these relate to your role?

These institutions are specific regulators and their major task is to ensure the effective competition in specific sectors by means of ex ante measures. The aim of the specific regulators is to set the conditions of the competition in sectors where competition does not work properly (for example, electricity, telecommunications) and to remove barriers to entry in specific markets. The Office and the specific regulators exercise their functions independently from each other.

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. The Act has no provision forcing or allowing the Office to consider ‘non-competition aims’ 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?

Each party to the proceedings has the right to submit an appeal against the Office’s decisions to the Council of the Office, which is an independent second-instance body. It has seven members, including the chairman of the Office; the others are legal external professionals and economists (not employees of the Office) – university professors, lawyers and representatives of the non-governmental organisation.

Parties to the proceedings have the right to submit a lawsuit challenging the Office’s decisions to the Regional Court in Bratislava. The decision of the Regional Court could be appealed at the Supreme Court.

Has the authority ever blocked a proposed merger?

The last prohibited merger was the case of Tesco/Carrefour in the area of everyday goods sales in 2006. In recent years, in several cases undertakings have withdrawn their notification filings after statement of objection concluding that the merger in question was to be blocked.

Has the authority ever imposed conditions on a proposed merger?

Yes. The last concentration where this rule was applied was the case of Penta Investments Limited /NemocnicaTopoľčany in 2017. In several other cases within past two years where the Office issued a statement of objection requesting remedies, the parties have withdrawn their notification filings.

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

Yes, the Office can conduct Phase II investigations. In 2019, two merger filings were assessed in Phase II. In other cases where it was necessary to conduct market research, or any other in-depth investigation, it was managed within the first phase.

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

In 2019, the Office did not carry out any proceedings for a cartel offence against a party to the proceedings based outside the Slovak jurisdiction.

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

The Office does operate a leniency programme. The first applicant may be granted full immunity; other applicants may be granted a reduction in fine of up to 50 per cent.

Potential applicants should contact the following people at the Cartel Division:

ZuzanaMinarovjech
Tel: +421 2 48 297 356
Email: [email protected]

ZuzanaKochanová
Tel: +421 2 48 297 350
Email: [email protected]

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

Criminal proceedings in cartel cases can be lead only by criminal bodies (for example, police, prosecution, courts) pursuant to the relevant legislation (Criminal Code, Criminal Procedure Code).

The law system in the Slovak Republic provides for criminal enforcement of anticompetitive practices. Criminal responsibility lies with natural persons (legal persons or undertakings are responsible for anticompetitive behaviour within the application of administrative enforcement pursuant to the Act). The Criminal Code provides a definition of criminal acts for the abuse of participation in competition. This criminal conduct, according to the provisions of the Criminal Code, is referred to the breach of the Act, which results in considerable harm to the other competitor or threatens the operation or development of the entrepreneurial subject.

Criminal acts pursuant to the provisions of the Criminal Code would be investigated by the police or prosecutor, and the charges are brought before the court in criminal proceedings.

Are there any plans to reform the competition law?

As regardsthe obligation to transpose the Directive of the European Union 2019/1 to empower the competition authorities of EU member states to be more effective enforcers and to ensure the proper functioning on the internal market, signed into law on 11 December 2018 and published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 14 January 2019, we are currently in the final phase of the preparation of new competition legislation (Competition Act), which also reflects (beyond the scope of the Directive) the necessary changes resulting from the Office's practice.

When did the last review of the law occur?

The last review of the Act occurred in 2014 and came into force on 1 July 2014. Since then, the Act was amended by the Public Procurement Act, which came into force on 18 April 2016.

The amendment provides the Office with new competence (article 38(h)) to impose a prohibition to take a part in public procurement for the period of three years on the undertaking.

The Act was afterwards subject to a few non-significant changes regarding the revision of the Civil Code of Procedure and transposition of the EU Damages Directive.

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

No, currently the Office covers the position of chief economist in the form of consultant directly reporting to the deputy chairman.

Has the authority conducted a dawn raid?

Yes, the Office has such power.

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

No, we do not have such competence; we can impose penalties only on undertakings (companies), but not on individuals.

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

The notification thresholds are set by the law. There are several options on how thresholds are met and it is sufficient if the undertakings concerned fulfil one of them (the first one is general and the others depend on the type of the concentration).

A concentration shall be subject to control by the Office if:

  • the combined aggregate turnover of the undertakings concerned is at least €46 million attained for the accounting period preceding the establishment of the concentration in the Slovak Republic, and at least two of the undertakings concerned each attain an aggregate turnover of at least €14 million in the Slovak Republic for the accounting period preceding the establishment of the concentration; or
  • the aggregate turnover attained for the accounting period preceding the establishment of the concentration in the Slovak Republic:
    • is a matter ofconcentration pursuant to article 9, paragraph 1, subparagraph (a) where the turnover of at least one of the undertakings concerned is €14 million and simultaneously the worldwide aggregate turnover for the accounting period preceding the establishment of the concentration attained by another undertaking concerned is at least €46 million;
    • is a matter of concentration pursuant to article 9, paragraph 1, subparagraph (b) where the turnover of at least one undertaking concerned that is acquired or part acquired is at least €14 million and simultaneously the worldwide aggregate turnover for the accounting period preceding the establishment of the concentration attained by any undertaking concerned is at least €46 million; or
    • is a matter of concentration pursuant to article 9, paragraph 5 at least by one of the undertakings concerned creating a jointly controlled enterprise of at least €14 million and simultaneously the worldwide aggregate turnover for the accounting period preceding the establishment of the concentration attained by another undertaking concerned is at least €46 million.

Only the turnover of the undertaking that is the target in a specific concentration is taken into account from the portfolio of the seller’s companies.

Are there any restrictions on minority investments?

No.

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

Proper cooperation is one of the conditions for the immunity or reduction in fine to be granted under the leniency programme.

The undertaking is legally obliged to cooperate with the Office, and failure to do so can engender a fine or lead to assessmentunder aggravating circumstances when calculating the amount of fine for the infringement committed. Moreover, effective cooperation can be evaluated under mitigating circumstances in the calculation of a fine for the infringement committed under the condition the undertaking does not benefit from the leniency programme and the effective cooperation goes beyond the legal obligation to cooperate.

The will to undergo a settlement procedure may also be perceived as a special form of cooperation by an undertaking. The Office is allowed to settle the case if an undertaking agrees onthe conclusions of settlement discussions, admits its participation in the infringement and accepts its responsibility. If the Office settles the case, the undertaking may be granted a fine reduction of 30 per cent in antitrust cases.

The above cooperation is also indirectly rewarded through the leniency programme and the settlement. Debarment from public procurements for three years is another administrative sanction that may be pursued with an undertaking, if applicable, In addition toa fine. If an undertaking benefits from a leniency programme debarment is not applicable. However, if an undertaking settles the case it will be debarred, if applicable, for one year instead of three.

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

No, we do not have such competence; only criminal enforcement bodies can conduct criminal investigations and prosecutions.

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Slovakia: from the enforcer's competition economists

Address: Drienova 24, 826 03 Bratislava, Slovakia
Web: www.antimon.gov.sk

Contacts

Tibor Menyhart
Chairman
Tel: +421 2 43337 305
Fax: +421 2 48297 365

Boris Gregor
Deputy Chairman
Tel: +421 2 43331 126
Fax: +421 2 43333 572

ZuzanaBonova
Secretary General
Tel: +421 2 43336 103
Fax: +421 2 43333 572

Michaela Nosa
Director, Legislative, Legal and Foreign Relations Division
Tel: +421 2 43331 092
Fax: +421 2 43333 572

Emil Vojtko
Director, Division of Abuse of Dominant Position and
Vertical Agreements
Tel: +421 2 43330 149
Fax: +421 2 43333 572

Zuzana Minarovjech
Director, Division of Cartels
Tel: +421 2 43334 045
Fax: +421 2 43333 572

Erika Lovasova
Director, Division of Concentrations
Tel: +421 2 43334 072
Fax: +421 2 43333 572

Sona Drobova
Director, Division of State Aid
Tel: +421 2 43333 393
Fax: +421 2 43333 572

Jana Krivosudska
Director, Division of Economics and Division of the Chairman
Tel: +421 2 48297 380
Fax: +421 2 43333 572

Questions and answers

How many economists do you employ?

Nineteen.

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

Employees providing economic analyses are integrated in executive divisions and are directly involved in case management. This solution also means the elimination of the administrative burden for the office.

Do you have a chief economist?

The chief economist has an advisory role and provides his or her recommendations and comments to the executive divisions.

To whom does the chief economist report?

The chief economist is an independent adviser and coordinates answers to economic questions upon the request of other divisions.

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

The chief economist has no independent competence to hire his or her own staff. New staffare hired according to the Act on Civil Service and based on a selective procedure in which the chief economist takes part.

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

One.

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

Usually, the responsible director of the relevant division considers particular case and decides and determines the role of the specialist economist in the case. The role and engagement of the specialist economist is than approved by internal comment procedure. During the procedure, the comments of the specialist economist take the form of recommendations.

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, among others, the chief economist plays this role in the range mentioned above.

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

None.

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