HK competition law will harm mergers

Author: | Published: 6 Jul 2010

Hong Kong has tabled its long-awaited competition bill. In a sop to business, the proposed law does not include a merger review regime. But by bowing to corporate pressure, the law could damage deal certainty.

On Friday, Hong Kong’s competition bill was introduced in the Legislative Council. As expected, the bill outlines two conduct rules to combat restrictive agreements and abuses of market power, but a merger regime is conspicuously absent.

“Most companies don’t want merger rules as they’re costly and delay transactions,” said Marc Waha of Norton Rose. “This is a legitimate concern that’s been expressed so vocally that the government has completely retreated. But as a result we have a regime that’s fraught with legal uncertainty.”

Only telecoms mergers will be subject to review, as is already the case under the Telecommunications Ordinance. Other...