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Amendments to merger control regime

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Amendments to merger control regime

In 2017, the rules relating to the merger control by the Hungarian Competitions Authority (HCA) have been significantly changed. The scope of the amendments extends to the merger notification thresholds, the merger control procedure, the deadlines and fees. The main changes are the following:
Amendments of turnover thresholds
Concentrations are subject to notification to the HCA if
- the previous financial year’s combined net turnover of all the undertakings concerned exceed HUF 15 billion (approx. EUR 48 million) (this threshold has not been changed) and
- there are at least two groups of undertakings among the undertakings concerned whose previous financial year’s net turnover exceeds HUF 1 billion (approx. EUR 3.2 million) -the previous threshold was HUF 500 million.
Another new rule is that mergers that do not exceed the above-mentioned thresholds shall be notified to the HCA as well, if it is not evident that the merger in question does not significantly impede competition and if the combined net turnover of all undertakings concerned exceed HUF 5 billion (approx. EUR 16 million).


The calculation of the threshold has changed:
The base of the calculation of the undertakings’ net turnover is the turnover of the previous financial year which is derived from the goods sold in the territory of Hungary. Previously the base of the calculation was the combined turnover of the Hungarian undertakings.
Notification instead of approval
A significant amendment to the HCA procedures is that the approval system has been replaced by a notification system relating to mergers.
The notification shall be filed through a form and simultaneously HUF 1 million (approx. EUR 3250) administrational fee shall be paid. Within 8 days from the date of arrival of the notification, the authority
- orders the investigation of the merger, if it is not evident that the merger in question does not significantly impede competition or
- in absence of grounds for investigation issues an official certificate on this to the merger notifier.
The merger can be completed if the authority did not carry out any action determined by law within the 8 day-deadline. The authority issues an official certification of this fact at the request of the merger notifier and refunds the administrational fee.
The authority orders a competition control procedure in the cases determined by law, inter alia if it is not evident that the merger in question does not significantly impede competition in the relevant market, or the merger was not notified to HCA, or the merger has been completed before the 8-day deadline.
The deadline of investigation procedure having ordered after the notification is 4 months from the date of the notification, in every other case 4 months from the date of the order of investigation. The deadline may be extended maximum twice by 2 months each in the cases provided by law. If these deadlines expired, the merger may not be prohibited, no further obligation or condition may be required, the merger can be completed. In this case the administrational/notification fee shall be refunded and the authority issues an official certification at the request of the merger notifier of the fact that the merger can be executed.
The possibility of ordering down raid in merger cases as well
The possibility of on-site inspection (so-called “down raid”) has been extended for the cases of competition control procedure. Previously down raid was possible only in cases of cartel- and abuses of dominant position-related procedures.
According to the new provisions, in cases of breaching the rules of notification, and execution of merger before the deadline, and if there is a reason to believe that essential information was withheld, incorrect or false information was provided in the merger notification procedure the authority may search any premises, vehicle, or data carrier for collecting evidences relating to the merger, and may enter any premises without the consent of the owner, and open any sealed-off area, building


or premises. To carry out the on-site inspections, the authority may claim the assistance of the police. The on-site inspection can be carried out – as in the other cases – with judicial authorization.

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