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Spain

Europe-Increasing control on concentrations

The Spanish Competition Defence Act has been amended recently by Royal Law-Decree 6/1999, of April 17. Contrary to the voluntary notification contemplated in its previous language, the amended Act now requires concentration operations to be notified to the relevant authority, the Competition Defence Service, where (a) as a result of the operation the concentration acquires or increases 25% or more of the Spanish market, or a geographical market therein, of a product or service; or (b) the aggregate national turnover of the undertakings concerned is more than Ptas. 40 billion (euro240,404,841.75) (twice as much as before the amendment), provided that at least two of them achieve more than Ptas. 10 billion (euro60,101,210.44) of their aggregate turnover within Spain. The notification must be done before the performance of the operation or not more than one month after the adoption of the concentration agreement, and will not affect concentrations falling under the aegis of Regulation (EEC) 4064/94. Authorization must be given for the concentration if it is not considered as creating or strengthen a dominant position, though if the concentration could lead to easily removable obstacles impeding competition, the authorization may be conditioned on the adoption of modifications to the operation by the undertakings involved.

The amended Act also introduces a definition of the transactions deemed to be economic concentrations, comprising (i) the merger of two or more previously independent undertakings, (ii) the acquisition of control of the whole or parts of one or more undertakings; and (iii) the creation of a new undertaking.

Luis de Carlos / Jesús Pérez de la Cruz

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