UOKiK investigates the clothing market | SSW Alert
The President of the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK or Regulator) has decided to extend the term of the merger control proceedings regarding concentration of Vistula Group and Bytom. According to UOKiK, in order to issue a final decision in this case, carrying out a market research will be necessary. This information may be significant not only for merging companies, but also other entities active in the clothing sector. UOKiK may approach them in order to obtain information and documents necessary to conduct its investigation.
The President of UOKiK may decide to extend the term of merger control proceedings if it finds that market research is necessary. UOKiK selects entrepreneurs which will take part in such investigation. It cannot be excluded that the scope of UOKiK’s analysis will not be limited to direct competitors of merging entrepreneurs only. Regulator needs to recognize the whole structure of the market and a level of its concentration. Having this in mind, UOKiK may be also interested in entities active on markets related to those where merging companies compete (e.g. downstream markets) such as their suppliers, distributors or other contractors.
During the market research, UOKiK may request from entrepreneurs any necessary information or documents. For example, UOKiK may require information on commercial relations, distributorship or franchise agreements. If, during its analysis, UOKiK finds out any competition law infringements committed by examined entities, even not related to merging companies, the President of UOKIK may launch another antimonopoly proceedings in such case.
Participation in the market research is mandatory and entrepreneur who fails to provide information and/or documents or provides the Regulator with misleading information may be imposed with a fine up to EUR 50.000.000,00. Such fine may be imposed even in case if provision of misleading information or failure to provide them was unintentional.
Having the above in mind, we strongly recommend to answer the Regulator’s questions with utmost care in order to avoid any accusations that would result in a risk of imposing a fine.
How can we help you?
SSW provides comprehensive legal service in the field of competition and consumer protection. We offer full support at the stage of provision of answers to the Regulator’s queries. Our practice includes also implementation of antitrust compliance programs aiming to ensure that business is run in accordance with competition law provisions. In this respect we may offer verification of commercial relations with competitors and contractors, including analysis of your agreements from a competition law perspective. It is worth notice that implementation of relevant remedies may decrease a risk of competition law infringement in a future.
Jakub Jędrzejewski – Counsel, Attorney at Law
Filip Drgas – Junior Associate