NMa releases its 2008 Annual Report
The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has today released its 2008 Annual Report, entitled 'Choices', in which the NMa accounts for its oversight and enforcement actions. A number of prioritized industries, the so-called 'areas of attention' take center stage in the 2008 Annual Report: health care, financial services, food & agriculture, energy, and transport. The overviews of the areas of attention are accompanied by thematic pieces that provide more background information, sharing the common theme of 'choices'. After all, having to make choices is one of the defining characteristics of regulation.
In 2008, the NMa imposed fines for violations of the Competition Act totaling 9 million Euro. Eleven formal investigations have been carried out that resulted in a Statement of Objections, including investigations into the paint industry and the health care industry, due to suspicions that the Competition Act had been violated. Furthermore, the NMa handled 29 complaints, issued 119 decisions in merger or acquisition cases, and handled 154 objections against a sanction decision, including 74 construction cases. The NMa issued its first commitment decision in June 2008, which was in the day-care industry. Five Amsterdam-based day-care providers had exchanged information about their plans on whether or not to enter each other's markets, thus possibly restricting parents' choices.
The NMa issued a total of 119 decisions in energy cases, imposed fines on parties in the energy industry totaling €1.6 million, and provided the Minister of Economic Affairs advice in 16 energy dossiers. The NMa concluded four sanction cases in the regulated transport sectors, imposed fines totaling €1.7 million, and imposed an order subject to periodic penalty payments on Dutch network infrastructure manager ProRail for having violated the Railway Act. Furthermore, the NMa set the pilotage tariffs for the first time ever. Also, the NMa handled almost 25,000 questions, tip-offs and reports through the consumer information portal ConsuWijzer, jointly operated by the Consumer Authority, OPTA and the NMa.
In its annual report, the NMa also quantified the direct effect of its activities. According to rough and conservative estimates, oversight by the NMa in 2008 has saved Dutch consumers approximately €700 million.
The NMa's annual budget is approximately €45 million. On December 31st, 2008, the NMa had 405 employees.