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Greece: Regulators issue statement of objections over fish farming merger

 |  October 10, 2013

In a press release obtained by CPI from the Hellenic Competition Commission, the Greek regulator has confirmed it sent a statement of objections between the merger of fish farming companies Dias Aquaculture and Selonda Aquaculture and has since set a date of October 14 to hold a hearing on the matter.

According to the press release, the statement of objections centers on the concern that the merger would reduce competition “taking into account the levels of concentration in the market,” along with other factors.

The full press release from the HCC can be read below.

Statement of Objections regarding the legal merger between Dias Aquaculture S.A. and Selonda Aquaculture S.A.

Following the issuing of a statement of objections (SO), the Hellenic Competition Commission will hold a hearing on 10 October 2013 in order to examine whether the legal merger between Dias Aquaculture S.A. and Selonda Aquaculture S.A., companies active in the fish farming sector, is compatible with merger control rules.

According to the SO, the notified concentration may entail the coordination of the competitive behaviour of the main competitors, especially with regard to the relevant market of fish juvenile, and lead to a significant impediment to effective competition, taking into account the levels of concentration of the market, the existing structural links between the undertakings in the sector, and in particular the minority shareholding of one of the parties to a competitor. Furthermore, in the recent past the Hellenic Competition Commission issued decision 492/VI/2010 [http://www.epant.gr/news_details.php?Lang=en&id=89&nid=338] (upheld in substance by the Administrative Court of Appeals), finding an infringement of articles 1 of Law 703/77 and 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (horizontal collusion between the main companies of the sector).

The SO suggests approval of the merger, according to the provisions of article 8 paras 6 and 8, l. 3959/2011, upon the granting of relevant, appropriate commitments which will address the serious doubts raised as to the compatibility of the mergers with the requirements of the functioning of competition in the relevant markets concerned.

The issuing of a statement of objections does not bind the Hellenic Competition Commission and is without prejudice to its final decision. The Hellenic Competition Commission will decide upon the case, after an oral hearing and the review of all evidence.

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