WHAT WE DO
ANTITRUST, COMPETITION & REGULATORY PRACTICE

Competition is the drive of growth in the economy. Competition law protects not only the public interest in general, but also the interests of suppliers, customers, and competitors of the undertakings, which may have broken the competition rules, as well as the interests of the ultimate consumers and users of their products. Equally, if not more important, competition law provisions may be a very efficient weapon in opening up new products and services markets, creating thus additional opportunities for revenues and growth. Compliance with EU and national competition laws is an obligation for all natural and legal persons carrying out business activities.

 

The Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) is the authority assigned with the task of enforcement of the Greek and EU competition law provisions in the territory of Greece. It has broad powers in the area of collusive practices/cartels, abuses of dominance, and merger control. Despite the harsh economic conditions prevailing in Greece, in 2014, the HCC imposed fines of EUR 15.5 million in total (EUR 45.4 million in 2013, and EUR 412 million between 2000 and 2013), on undertakings that were found to have breached the relevant provisions. The increasing level of fines may threaten the existence and business operation of a company, whilst the threat of criminal law sanctions, imprisonment included for certain individuals involved, should not be forgotten or underestimated.

 

Furthermore, the fact that the antitrust provisions may form the basis for civil law actions for damages before the Courts should not be overlooked. Directive 2014/104 regarding actions for damages under national law for infringements of the competition law provisions of the Member States and of the European Union will become national law by December 2016 the latest, whilst the risk of class actions based on antitrust allegations will most probably become more imminent in the near future.

 

Our team has both deep educational/theoretical background and wide-ranging professional experience to assist you in ensuring compliance with competition law provisions. In addition, we enjoy the important privilege of having in our competition team lawyers who have served both on behalf of the competition law enforcers, at EU and national level, and the companies subject to the competition rules. Within the scope of such duties, our lawyers have participated in antitrust investigations, both regarding prohibited collusion and abuse of dominance, as members of the authorities’ team, from the very first step up until the adoption of the final decision, which in some cases had been drafted by them. Furthermore, they participated in merger control proceedings (i.e. examination of notifications, drafting the relevant clearance decisions, proceedings in respect of failure to respect the obligation to notify and the obligation to suspend a concentration, etc.), as well as in the evaluation and handling of complaints.  In addition, they have examined contracts, in order to verify whether their provisions were in compliance with the antitrust rules. Therefore, we are in a position to better understand what the competition authorities are looking for and what is their approach, whilst we also fully apprehend the need of the companies to efficiently carry out their business activities, so we are committed to providing them with creative, business-oriented, competition law compliant solutions. We advise in all relevant areas of national and EU competition law: antitrust, merger, and state aid.

 

We are, however, of the opinion that the preventive approach in dealing with antitrust compliance is for various obvious reasons far more preferable than the reactive one. It is nowadays more than ever crucial to prevent antitrust risks, rather than to deal with them after they have become a problem. Thus, it is essential to have in place an antitrust compliance program, tailor-made to reflect the needs and peculiarities of your company and the industry, in which your company carries out its business operations, taking specifically into account the need to compete effectively in the market, and eventually grow market shares and revenues. We have the capacity to present and explain in simple words the potential antitrust risks and provide business-oriented practical solutions. We will prepare a compliance program specific to your business, and we will substantially assist you in implementing it; furthermore, we will carry out, upon your instructions, specific antitrust audits, with a view to identifying potential problematic areas and design specific remedies, so that the risk of becoming subject to an antitrust investigation, and/or private antitrust litigation is minimized, if not eliminated.

  • Assessment of contracts (horizontal/vertical agreements, gentlemen’s agreements), decisions of associations of undertakings, and  concerted practices) in order to ensure that they do not fall under the types of prohibited collusion
  • Assessment of whether the conditions for exemption from the application of the competition rules are applicable, or whether the de minimis rule applies
  • Assessment of whether a firm enjoys a dominant position, and as a result, which business practices may be problematic from an antitrust stance
  • Drafting antitrust complaints, and ensuring full respect of the complainants’ procedural rights
  • Representation of companies in respect of the fact-finding powers of the HCC

- Drafting responses to requests for information

- Representation of the companies during on-the-spot inspections (dawn raids), with a view to ensuring that the rights of the companies (confidentiality, access to the file, legal professional privilege, etc.) are fully respected, and the obligations are fully complied with, avoiding thus the risk of sanctions

  • Drafting written replies to the statement of objections sent by the HCC
  • Representation of companies in oral hearings before the HCC
  • Drafting and negotiating commitments
  • Advising in respect of the leniency policy
  • Drafting judicial review actions (actions for annulment, actions for damages, etc.)
  • Drafting merger notifications, and counseling at all stages of a merger clearance process, with a view to ensuring an approving final decision by the HCC 
Design of antitrust compliance program
Design of the antitrust compliance program
Counseling of a major construction company
Complaint regarding abuses of dominant position
B2B Collection & Credit Services
1 Aristeidou str. Athens, 10559, T +30 210 3626971, +30 210 3626975 F +30 210 3626974 E info@ptlegal.eu
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