In the midst of the drafting of a new Competition Act, the current Serbian Competition Act has been challenged before the country’s Constitutional Court. The challenge was made by the Serbian Bar Association, as a follow-up to a joint challenge already made by a law firm and two NGOs earlier this month.
As reported earlier, Serbia is in the process of completing its block exemption system by adopting four new block exemption regulations. The first two on the list are block exemptions governing technology transfer and transport by rail, road and inland waterway, respectively, the drafts of which are now out.
What has been rumored for quite some time has now been officially announced: Serbia will soon get a brand new Competition Act. The new legislation will replace the current Competition Act, adopted in 2009 and amended in 2013.
Apart from acquisition of companies, acquisition of assets may also represent a notifiable concentration under Serbian competition law. This includes acquisition of real estate. Fair enough – but what complicates things are Serbia’s low merger filing thresholds, which catch even transactions with little or no effect in Serbia.
Serbia is well known as a jurisdiction with low merger filing thresholds. In addition to the red tape they create, such low filing thresholds mean that even minor transactions require a careful examination whether a merger filing is required. In a recently published opinion, the Serbian Competition Commission looked at whether aircraft lease amounts to a concentration.
It had to happen at some point: in a decision dated 12 July 2017, the Serbian Competition Commission for the first time fined an undertaking for implementing a merger without clearance. Even though the fine can be qualified as symbolic, it is a strong indication that the Commission will no longer refrain itself from issuing fines in similar cases.
We are pleased to announce that Gajin Law, a Serbian competition boutique, is about to merge with Doklestic & Partners, a full-service law firm from Belgrade. As part of the arrangement, Dr. Dragan Gajin will become a partner at Doklestic & Partners and head the firm’s competition practice.
Last week, the Hungarian city of Győr was the host of the EU Business Law Forum, organized by the Center for European Studies of the Szecheny Istvan University. The forum brought together legal experts from Western Balkans and Central Europe to exchange experiences how EU rules affect the application of business law in their respective countries.
The Serbian Competition Commission doesn’t seem to rest – it has launched another antitrust investigation. This time it is investigating Imlek, the largest Serbian dairy, and Kruna-Komerc, a Serbian dairy products trader. The Commission is alleging that the companies engaged in bid-rigging by coordinating their commercial behavior with respect to a public procurement bid.
The Serbian Competition Commission has recently published its annual report for 2016. Among the parts of the report catching the eye is the Commission’s announcement that during this year it plans to draft four new block exemption regulations for restrictive agreements. Once the drafting is completed, the Commission would submit the regulations to the Government for adoption.