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Companies anticipate the NMa's concentration control and cartel oversight efforts

For every cartel that the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) fines, there are five cases in which companies adjust or dissolve their cartels as a preemptive move against possible NMa investigations. In addition, for every 100 merger notifications that the NMa processes, 18 concentration plans are either adjusted or cancelled. When it comes to concentration plans or illegal agreements with competitors, companies and their advisors appear to take into account the NMa's anticipated reaction. These are some of the main conclusions of a study into the deterrent effects of concentration control and cartel control, which had been commissioned by the NMa, and was carried out by Dutch research firm SEO Economisch Onderzoek.

Pieter Kalbfleish, chairman of the Board of the NMa, says: 'I am very pleased with the results of this study. The mere presence of the NMa as regulatory body apparently acts as an incentive for companies themselves to check whether they act within the boundaries of the Dutch Competition Act. And there, after all, is exactly where the responsibility lies.'

This latest study marks the second time the NMa has investigated what the effects of its concentration control efforts are. The first study was carried out in 2005. New elements in this second study include looking into the effects of the NMa's cartel oversight activities, as well as the inclusion of larger companies (with a staff of 100 and over) as interviewees, next to advisors. More than 500 firms and almost 100 advisors have been interviewed by SEO Economisch Onderzoek.

The complete study can be downloaded from the NMa's website.