The recent amendments to the Competition Law brought by the Government Emergency Ordinance 75/2010 clearly enlarge the list of sanctions to which an economic agent exposes itself when adopting a behavior which is contrary to the Competition Law. However, alongside a better involvement of the competition authority in preventing the anti-competitive behaviors by ensuring a direct contact with the market players for guidance purposes and by adapting the secondary legislation and its subsequent practice to the current economic context, the legislative amendments may ultimately lead to a better competitive environment rather than successive sanctions of civil or criminal nature.
“These serious sanctions and investigation tools made available to the Competition Council may in fact play a significant role in the competition authority’s attempts to prevent infringements of the Competition Law which sometimes are likely to have dramatic effects on both the proper functioning of the market and consumer welfare. In the upcoming months, the secondary legislation will also be updated on the current economic background, encouraging the economic agents to self-assess their actions prior to entering into an agreement that may fall within the prohibition of the Competition Law”, says Anca Buta Muşat, Partner with Muşat & Asociaţii and head of the Competition/Antitrust practice within the firm.
The secondary legislation which is currently reviewed by the Competition Council will take into account the economic agents’ expectations by reducing the bureaucratic burdens upon the market players and ensuring a better communication between them and the competition authority meant to prevent unlawful practices. The amendments to the Competition Law already eliminated the obligation to notify and obtain the prior approval of the Competition Council in relation to each agreement concluded between competitors or non-competitors who held market shares of 30% or even less, depending on the type of the agreement. Moreover, the authorization fee applicable to transactions amounting to economic concentrations was reduced from 1% to 0.4% from the parties’ turnover achieved on the relevant markets during the preceding financial year. “These are very good news for all the market players that will not be bound anymore to put on hold their commercial plans only due to a mandatory formality”, says Anca Buta Muşat.
Muşat & Asociaţii’s long-standing competition expertise includes numerous high-profile projects such as the antitrust clearance of the EUR 850 million acquisition of the Electrica Muntenia Sud by Enel, the restructuring of the EUR 1 billion debt of Termoelectrica SA or the full merger control and clearance proceedings triggered by the recent EUR 10,000,000 acquisition of Bere Azuga by SABMiller. Among her clients she counts numerous high profile corporations such as Eli Lilly, GSK, Hoffman La Roche, Novartis, Lundbeck, General Electric, PPF Partners, KBC Bank, SBS Broadcasting, Jones Apparel, Visa International Service Association, Intel, just to name a few.
Anca Buta Muşat is renowned for her top-notch and solid expertise in competition/antitrust matters, being the sole Romanian lawyer winning an international award at the prestigious International Law Office (ILO) Client Choice Awards 2010. Her expertise in competition matters is also recognized by the prestigious British guides of the legal profession, Chambers & Partners and PLC Which Lawyer?, which recommend her among the country’s top experts in this practice. She has an extensive experience in competition, representing major corporations before both the European Commission and Competition Council, during dawn raids, investigation proceedings and hearings before the Competition authority. Furthermore, she provides legal assistance in all aspects related to state aid schemes, public services contracts, anti competitive practice or/and dominant positions.