Albanian Competition Authority
Albania
Abstract Shape Background
Albanian Competition Authority

Albanian Competition Authority

Albania

Contacts

Juliana Latifi
Chairwoman of the Albanian Competition Authority
[email protected]

Leida Matja
Member of the Albanian Competition Commission
[email protected]

Adriana Berberi
Member of the Albanian Competition Commission
[email protected]

Denar Biba
Member of the Albanian Competition Commission

[email protected]

Rezana Konomi Perolla
Member of the Albanian Competition Commission
[email protected]

Diana Dervishi
General Secretary
[email protected]

Production Markets Surveillance Directorate

Mimoza Kodhelaj
Director
[email protected]

Oltion Nano
Inspector
[email protected]

Ada Hasantaraj
Inspector
[email protected]

Miklovana Ymerali
Inspector
[email protected]

Vanina Vongli
Inspector
[email protected]

Kristi Qokaj
Inspector
[email protected]

 
Non-Production/Services Markets Surveillance Directorate

Anisa Buxheli
Director
[email protected]

Vasken Spiru
Inspector
[email protected]

Diana Bardhi
Inspector
[email protected]

Anisa Zhamo
Inspector
[email protected]

Beart Llakaj
Inspector
[email protected]

Rin Zela
Inspector
[email protected]

Rashel Pengili
Inspector
[email protected]

Market Analysis and Methodologies Directorate

Dhurata Skënderi
Director
[email protected]

Albana Dibra (Kola)
Chief Economist/Inspector
[email protected]

Gerta Rama
Inspector
[email protected]

Anda Nelaj
Inspector
[email protected]

Edlira Gjonaj
Inspector
[email protected]

Piro Dhima
Inspector
[email protected]

Meri Bajko
Inspector
[email protected]

Legal, Integration and Judicial Affairs Directorate

Indrit Reka
Director
[email protected]

Daniela Mehmeti (Laze)
Inspector
[email protected]

Klaudjo Gjuzi
Inspector
[email protected]

Ilir Dhimitri
Inspector
[email protected]

Kris Kolasi
Inspector
[email protected]

Human Resources, Budget and Communication Directorate

Thomas Koleka
Director
[email protected]

Human Resources and Budget Sector

Ruela Çashku
Head of Sector
[email protected]

Anna Maria Monçe
Specialist
[email protected]

Eneida Kullakshi
Archive and Documentation Specialist
[email protected]

 
Communication Sector

Paola Gjika
Head of Sector
[email protected]

Arizana Progni
Specialist
[email protected]

Questions and answers

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

According to article 21 of Law No. 9121/2003 “On Competition Protection” as amended, the head of the Albanian Competition Authority (ACA) is appointed by Albania’s parliament for a five-year term of office. He or she can be reappointed for another five-year term consecutively.

When is he or she due for reappointment?

The chairwoman of ACA was appointed for a first term by parliament in December 2016. The five-year term ends on 22 December 2021.

Which posts within the organisation are political appointments?

The politically appointed posts at ACA are the members of the chair’s Cabinet, and it is composed of the head of the Cabinet, the adviser and an office secretary. The rest of the staff has civil servant status.

What is the agency’s annual budget?

The annual budget for 2020 was 77,500,000 leke, approximately €630,000.

The annual budget for 2021 was 79,500,000 leke, approximately €646,000.

How many staff are employed by the agency?

In 2020 and in 2021, the number of ACA staff in total is 46, from which 35 are civil servants and five are members of the Commission.

To whom does the head of the agency report?

According to article 24 of Law No. 9121/2003, the chairwoman reports the ACA’s activity annually to the Economy and Finance Commission at the Albanian Parliament, in a plenary session.

Do any industry-specific regulators have competition powers?

The industry-specific regulators do not have direct competition powers. The ACA is the only institution responsible to protect the free and effective competition in the Albanian market. The ACA cooperates closely with the regulatory bodies in Albania and their respective markets: Energy Regulatory Authority (ERA), the Albanian Telecommunication and Postal Regulator (ATPR), the Bank of Albania (BOA) amd the Albanian Financial Supervisory Authority (AFSA), etc.

If so, how do these relate to your agency’s role?

Regulatory entities such as ATPR, BOA and AFSA have special articles on their specific law that emphasise their obligation to refer each case to the ACA in markets when they face competition distortion from undertakings subject to their market’s regulation.

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

Not applicable.

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

Not applicable.

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?

The decisions of Competition Commission are subject to appeal and are reviewed by the courts in Albania, such as the Administrative Court of First Instance, then at the Administrative Court of Appeal and then at the High Court.

In the past year there are some cases (decisions of the CC) that are overturned by the court and there are some other cases (decisions of the CC) for which the court has decided in favour of the Competition Authority.

In 2021, there were four cases that were overturned by the Administrative Court of First Instance, and there were 10 cases that the Administrative Court of First Instance decided in favour of ACA.

Cases overturned:

1.      Court case with the plaintiff FLORIFARMA, defendant CA with the object of abrogation of CC decision no. 746 dated 19.11.2020 “On the implementation of point 4 of CC decision no. 717 dated 15.10.2020 for the enterprise Florifarma SHPK ”. The Administrative Court of First Instance decided to accept the claim. CA appealed the decision to the Administrative Court of Appeal.

2.      Court case with the plaintiff ALFARMAKOS,  defendant CA with the object of abrogation of  CC decision no. 742, dated 19.11.2020 “On the implementation of point IV of the Decision of CC no. 717, dated 15.10.2020 for the enterprise “ALFARMAKOS”. The Administrative Court of First Instance decided to accept the claim. CA appealed the decision to the Administrative Court of Appeal.

3.      Court case with the plaintiff CACA defendant CA with the object of abrogation of  CC decision no.794, dated 27.04.2021 “On imposing fine to the undertakings Agroblend SHPK, MBM SHPK, CACA SHPK, for non-implementing the interim measure taken with the decision no.784, dated 12.03.2021 “On taking an interim measure to restore competition in the market of import and wholesale of chemical fertilizers and agricultural inputs".  The Administrative Court of First Instance decided to accept the claim. CA appealed the decision to the Administrative Court of Appeal.

4.       Court case with the plaintiff AGRO BLEND defendant CA with the object of abrogation of  CC decision no.794, dated 27.04.2021 “On imposing fine to the undertakings Agroblend SHPK, MBM SHPK, CACA SHPK, for non-implementing the interim measure taken with the decision no.784, dated 12.03.2021 “On taking an interim measure to restore competition in the market of import and wholesale of chemical fertilizers and agricultural inputs".  The Administrative Court of First Instance decided to accept the claim. CA appealed the decision to the Administrative Court of Appeal.

Cases in favour of ACA:

1.      Court case with the plaintiff FUFARMA, defendant CA with the object of abrogation of CC decision No. 749 dated 19.11.2020 "On the implementation of point 4 of CC No. 717 dated 15.10.2020 for the enterprise Fufarma SHPK". The Administrative Court of First Instance decided to reject/dismiss the claim.

  1. The court case with the plaintiff AQUARIUS MEDICAL, defendant CA with the object of abrogation of CC decision No. 764, Date 22.01.2021 “On the implementation of CC no. 685, dated 18.03.2020 "On taking a temporary measure to establish competition in the market of wholesale and retail of paramedical materials" for the company Aquarius Medical LLC". The Administrative Court of First Instance decided to reject/dismiss the claim.
  2. The court case with the plaintiff PHARMAONE defendant CA with the object of abrogation of CC by decision No. 741, dated 19.11.2020 “On the implementation of point IV of the Decision of CC No. 717, dated 15.10.2020 for the enterprise “PHARMAONE”. The Administrative Court of First Instance decided to reject/dismiss the claim.
  3.  The court case with the plaintiff TRIMED , defendant CA with the object of abrogation of CC by decision No. 743, dated 19.11.2020 “On the implementation of point IV of the Decision of CC No. 717, dated 15.10.2020 for the enterprise “TRIMED””. The Administrative Court of First Instance decided to reject/dismiss the claim.
  4. The court case with the plaintiff MEGAPHARMA, defendant CA with the object of abrogation of CC by decision No. 744, dated 19.11.2020 “On the implementation of point IV of the Decision of CC No. 717, dated 15.10.2020 for the enterprise “MEGAPHARMA”. The Administrative Court of First Instance decided to reject/dismiss the claim.
  5. The court case with the plaintiff FARMA NET ALBANIA , defendant CA with the object of abrogation of CC by decision No. 745, dated 19.11.2020 “On the implementation of point IV of the Decision of CC No. 717, dated 15.10.2020 for the enterprise “FARMA NET ALBANIA”. The Administrative Court of First Instance decided to reject/dismiss the claim.
  6. The court case with the plaintiff CFO PHARMA, defendant CA with the object of abrogation of CC by decision No. 747, dated 19.11.2020 “On the implementation of point IV of the Decision of CC No. 717, dated 15.10.2020 for the enterprise “CFO PHARMA”. The Administrative Court of First Instance decided to reject/dismiss the claim.
  7. The court case with the plaintiff DELTA PHARMA - AL , defendant CA with the object of abrogation of CC by decision No. 748, dated 19.11.2020 “On the implementation of point IV of the Decision of CC No. 717, dated 15.10.2020 for the enterprise “DELTA PHARMA - AL”. The Administrative Court of First Instance decided to reject/dismiss the claim.
  8. The court case with the plaintiff FLORFARMA, defendant CA with the object of abrogation of CC decision No. 765, dated 22.01.2021 “On the implementation of decision of CC No. 685, dated 18.03.2020 “On taking an interim measure for establishing competition in the market of wholesale and retail of pre-medical materials” for the enterprise Florfarma”. The Administrative Court of First Instance decided to reject/dismiss the claim.
  9. The court case with the plaintiff NEW MEDICAL PLUS , defendant CA with the object of abrogation of CC decision No. 766, dated 22.01.2021 “On the implementation of decision of CC No. 685, dated 18.03.2020 "On taking an interim measure to establish competition in the market of wholesale and retail of paramedical materials" for the company New Medical Plus". The Administrative Court of First Instance decided to reject/dismiss the claim.

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

In the past two years, no decision to block a merger has been issued. All the notified concentrations were authorised as no signs of anticompetitive issues or competition concerns have been arisen.

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

In 2020, CC, by decision No. 676, dated 07.02.2020, decided to authorise with conditions and obligations the concentration realised through the acquisition of control of the undertaking ABCom SHPK by Vodafone Albania SHA. The relevant markets in this transaction were considered the electronic communications market in mobile networks and the electronic communications market in fixed networks. From the evaluation, it was concluded that this transaction would not bring creation of or strengthening of the dominant position of Vodafone Albania SHA in the affected markets, but given that Vodafone Albania SHA provided most of the revenues from electronic communications services and held a dominant position in the electronic communications market in the mobile network, would bring its experience and that of the group it represents in the respective product markets.

Consequently, it was expected that this transaction would have an impact on the electronic communications market and mainly on the fixed communications market.

The conditions and obligations are as below:

  • the obligation of Vodafone Albania  not to abuse its dominant position through:

o   imposition, directly or indirectly, of unfair trading prices and the obligation to orient them towards the cost of services;

o   placing the parties on unequal terms for the same commercial operations, unfavorable to competition; and

o   establishing conditions for concluding contracts with other parties, where the latter accept additional obligations, which are not related to the object of the contracts in question;

  • the obligation of Vodafone Albania and ABCom , for the division of economic accounts for fixed and mobile telephony services, which will make possible the identification of the source of revenue generation;
  • to monitor for a period of 1 year from the taking of this decision, of the activity of Vodafone Albania and ABCom; and
  • the obligation of the companies Vodafone Albania and ABCom, to notify in advance to the Competition Authority for all the changes that will be made in the existing packages and the new packages that will be put on the market, during the monitoring period.

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

In the past two years, 2020 and 2021, no Phase II investigation has been conducted regarding merger control.

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

The Albanian Competition Law applies only within the Republic of Albania jurisprudence.

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

The ACA has adopted a leniency programme through Decision No. 382, dated 17 November 2015. The purpose of the leniency programme is to provide immunity for undertakings that cooperate with ACA and help in detecting and disrupting prohibited agreements or cartels and punishing the participants involved.

There may be a full or partial leniency based on information provided by the parties at ACA. The discount may be:

  • 30 to 50 per cent of the fine for the first undertaking;
  • 20 to 30 per cent of the fine for the second undertaking; and
  • 20 per cent of the fine in cases where the undertaking applies for partial leniency and provides added value or information to the ACA regarding a prohibited agreement.

No leniency application has been made so far.

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?

Based on the law 9121/2003 “On Competition Protection” as amended, the Competition Commission, in cases of infringements of the competition rules, can impose administrative sanctions and in such cases a fine can be imposed. The law does not foresee criminal enforcement for restrictions or obstructions of competition.

The Competition Authority has the power to conduct administrative procedures and investigations (including down raids at premises of undertakings or private premises) in cases when competition concerns arises and competition procedures are open (preliminary or in-depth investigations)

In Albania, competition infringements are considered administrative infringements. Regarding criminal enforcements the law (Criminal Code in Albania or other laws) provides specific rules that are empowered by responsible institutions in Albania.

Are there any plans to reform the competition law?

In the framework of the EU IPA Twinning project "Further strengthening the capacities of the Competition Authority to protect free and effective competition in the market", between the Albanian Competition Authority and the Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC), one of its main components was: "The improvement of legislation and approximation of the legal framework with the EU", where proposals to the current Law No. 9121/2003, aim at:

  • The approximation of legal provisions with the EU legal framework in the field of competition and more specifically with Directive (EU) 2019/1 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 (ECN+) “On the empowerment of the competition authorities of the Member States to be more effective enforcers and to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market”  (32019L0001), approved by the CC decision No. 697, dated 30.06.2020, "On the approval of the Guideline "On empowering the Competition Authority to be as effective as possible in the implementation of law No. 9121/2003 and to ensure the proper functioning of the market”.
  • The strengthening and increase of market surveillance instruments by taking the most effective measures to restore competition in the market, as well as imposing penalties on entities that illegally offer their products and services in the market, violating the rules of competition.
  • The strengthening of the cooperation with the relevant structure for competition in the European Commission, as well as foreign counterpart authorities, by defining the relevant legal mechanisms for the execution of decisions of counterpart authorities in the territory of the Republic of Albania, in order to implement the ECN+ Directive "On the empowerment of the competition authorities of the Member States to be more effective enforcers and to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market”.

When did the last review of the law occur?

Competition Law No. 9121/2003 was amended by Law No. 10317, dated 16 September 2010, for some additions and amendments to Law No. 9121, dated 28 July 2003 “On Competition Protection”.

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

No. The directorates that conduct market surveillance (ie, production and non-production) have economists who deal with specific cases, such as cartels and abuse of a dominant position. The Market Analysis and Methodologies Directorate conducts economic and econometric analyses during merger and acquisition procedures. Besides this, there is the chief economist position that reports to the director of the Market Analysis and Methodologies Directorate.

Has the authority conducted a dawn raid?

In 2021, in all the investigative procedures (preliminary and in-depth) undertaken by the ACA, dawn raids were conducted. The markets where down raids have been performed are:

  • public procurement of food purchasing;
  • public procurement of printing service (printing and enveloping invoices, control stamps, special postal products, etc.);
  • import and wholesale of chemical fertilisers DAP, nitrate and urea;
  • loading-unloading, import, storage, wholesale of fuels;
  • non-bank financial entities (SFJBs);
  • the loading-unloading, import, storage, wholesale of LPG
  • wholesale and retail pre-medical materials (including import and wholesale trade of masks; import, production and wholesale trade of alcohols and gel disinfectants; import and wholesale trade of thermometers).

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

Not applicable in the past year.

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

Decision No. 80, dated 5 June 2008, on the approval of the Regulation “On the implementation of the procedures for the concentration of undertakings” as amended through Decision No. 165, dated 14 December 2010, article 6 states that undertakings can try a consultation procedure before the notification through providing the ACA less documentation than a normal procedure.

The thresholds are foreseen in accordance with article 12 of Law No. 9121/2003 “On competition Protection” and concentrations of undertakings shall be notified to the ACA for authorisation if, in the financial year preceding the concentration:

  • the aggregate worldwide turnover of all the participating undertakings exceeds 7 billion leke and the individual turnover in Albania of at least one of the participating undertakings exceeds 200 million leke; or
  • the aggregate turnover in Albania of all the participating undertakings exceeds 400 million leke and the individual turnover of at least one of the participating undertakings on the domestic market is over 200 million leke.

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

No, there are no restrictions.

Organisation chart

 

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