Answer ... The Control of Concentrations Between Undertakings Law provides for a one-month deadline by which the CPC is required to inform the notifying undertaking of whether the concentration is cleared or whether it will proceed to a full investigation (Phase II). The one-month period commences from the date of submission of the notification or the submission of such additional information necessary for the notification to be considered complete and payment of the filing fee.
In the event where the CPC requests clarifications on the filing, the clock resets back to the statutory deadline of one month; while a request for additional information will cause the clock to stop until a response is received by the CPC on the requested information.
A further extension of 14 days may also be applied by the CPC, if, owing to the volume of work or the complexity of the information contained in the notification, the CPC is unable to comply with the one-month timeframe.
In a full investigation (Phase II), the CPC’s civil service is required to prepare a report of findings to the CPC within three months of the date of submission of the notification or such additional information as is necessary for the notification to be considered complete, provided that the relevant filing fee is settled.
In the case of a full investigation (Phase II), the notifying party or parties must be informed of the CPC’s decision no later than four months from the date of submission of the notification or such additional information as is necessary for the notification to be considered complete.
Answer ... There is no mechanism for expedition of the assessment timetable.
Answer ... There is no simplified review or ‘short form’ filing prescribed under the Control of Concentrations Between Undertakings Law.
Answer ... The CPC cooperates with the European Commission and national competition authorities in other EU member states on the basis of the system of parallel competences and the exchange of views and information between them via the European Competition Network.
Answer ... The CPC may collect information necessary for the exercise of its powers under the Control of Concentrations Between Undertakings Law by addressing a written request to the undertakings concerned, any other natural or legal persons or public or private entities.
The CPC may also gather information following inspections of the undertakings or associations of undertakings. The CPC has the power to:
- enter any office, premises, land and means of transport of undertakings and associations of undertakings, as well as any other business premises, with the exception of residences;
- examine any kind of records, books, accounts and other records of business activity, irrespective of the medium on which they are stored;
- receive or acquire irrespective of their form, copies or extracts from records, books, accounts and other records of business activity, irrespective of the medium on which they are stored and wherever they are stored;
- seal any office, premises, land, means of transport and any other business premises for the period of the inspection and to the extent necessary for the inspection;
- ask questions and request clarifications from, and record the answers of, any member of the board, administrative counsel, administration committee, general director, director, managing director, person who is authorised to represent companies or associations having no legal personality or staff member of the undertakings or association of undertakings, on the facts or data relating to the subject matter and purpose of the inspection.
Police assistance may be requested in order to enable the CPC to exercise its powers.
Answer ... Third parties with a legitimate interest may be invited to comment, but only in the event of a full investigation (Phase II). Parties with a legitimate interest may on a voluntary basis submit views at any phase of the assessment of a concentration or may be asked by the civil service of the CPC to provide information.
The undertakings concerned, or any third parties that may be affected directly by the decision of the CPC, may request to present their arguments before the CPC in the context of a hearing.
Answer ... No local carve-out mechanism is available. Clearance by the CPC is mandatory for all concentrations caught by the Control of Concentrations Between Undertakings Law.
Answer ... The substantive test for compatibility of a concentration with competition in the market is whether such concentration significantly impedes effective competition in Cyprus or in a substantial part thereof, in particular as a result of the creation or strengthening of a dominant position.
In assessing the compatibility of a concentration, the CPC takes into consideration the following criteria:
- the need to maintain and develop conditions of effective competition in the relevant markets, taking into account, among other things, the structure of the affected markets, other markets upon which the concentration may have significant effects and the potential competition on behalf of undertakings within or outside Cyprus;
- the position in the market of the undertakings concerned and undertakings connected to them;
- the financial power of such undertakings;
- alternative sources of supply of products or services in the affected markets and/or other markets upon which the concentration may have significant effects;
- any barriers of entry to the affected markets and/or other markets upon which the concentration may have significant effects;
- the interests of intermediate and end consumers of the relevant products and services;
- the contribution to technical and economic progress and the possibility of such contribution being in the interests of consumers and not obstructing competition; and
- supply and demand trends in the relevant markets.
While the Control of Concentrations Between Undertakings Law is silent in this regard, the CPC’s analysis of harm is substantially aligned with the respective approach of the European Commission. Besides high market shares, the assessment usually takes into account the anti-competitive effects that could potentially arise from a concentration, such as coordinated effects and unilateral effects.
The test and factors considered by the competent authority in the course of assessing whether a concentration should be cleared are consistent for all sectors.
Answer ... To the extent that a joint venture which constitutes a concentration has as its object or effect the coordination of competitive conduct of undertakings that remain independent, the CPC shall particularly take into account:
- whether two or more parent companies retain, to a significant extent, activities in the same market as the joint venture or in a market which is downstream or upstream from that of the joint venture or in a neighbouring market closely related to this market; and
- whether the coordination that directly emanates from the creation of the joint venture provides the undertakings concerned with the ability to eliminate competition for a substantial part of the relevant products or services.
Answer ... Although the Control of Concentrations Between Undertakings Law does not expressly identify any theories of harm that shall be taken into account in reviewing the notification, the CPC may develop its theories of harm based on the following considerations:
- the harmful effects of monopoly;
- potential effects on allocative and productive efficiency;
- the end effect on consumers/users;
- the exclusion of competitors; and
- the risk of input and customer foreclosure.
There is no exhaustive list of factors which the CPC may take into account in assessing a concentration in the context of a theory of harm, including labour and social factors.