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NMa imposes a fine due to failure to report a merger

The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has imposed fines on three companies because they failed to report their merger in good time. This breach still falls within the old regime for fines laid down by the Netherlands Competition Act. Under the new regime for fines, the fines for such violations are considerably higher.

On 19 July 2007, HAL Investments acquired the sole control of Delta Wines, due to acquiring shares from Expres Wijn and Valenbrecht. Shortly afterwards, these undertakings reported the merger to the NMa. On the grounds of the Netherlands Competition Act undertakings which have a turnover above a certain limit are not allowed to effect mergers (concentrations, acquisitions and joint ventures) before the NMa has been informed of this intention and has assessed its significance. The fines for the parties involved vary between EUR 15,000 and EUR 16,000; these fines are moderate, among other things due to the fact the companies reported the infringement to the NMa quickly and on their own initiative. The merger was eventually approved by the NMa in September 2007.

Infringements after October 2007? Far higher fines!
Due to amendments to the Netherlands Competition Act, the fines for a number of infringements have been increased considerably since October last year. Companies which fail to notify an intended merger can expect to receive a fine as high as 10 percent of the undertaking's turnover. The intention behind the imposition of these higher fines is to emphasise the importance of observing the rules and regulations of fair competition.