A Fine of CZK 1.435 Million Was Imposed on the Undertaking Natland for alleged "Gun Jumping"

2022-02-09
The Office for the Protection of Competition (hereinafter referred to as “the Office”) imposed a fine of CZK 1 435 000 on the undertaking Natland Group, SE, for a concentration between undertakings prior to the authorisation of the Office. No appeal was submitted against the first-instance decision and it has already entered into force.

In the course of 2019, the undertaking Natland Group, SE, (hereinafter referred to as “Natland”) started to implement the transaction through which it increased its shareholding in Energo Příbram, s.r.o., and, thus, acquired the possibility of exclusive control over this undertaking. The deal was subject to the approval of the Office. As the Office found, Natland has actively exercised control over Energo Příbram since December 2019. At the general meetings, in particular, it decided on the removal of the Managing Director, and, subsequently, the appointment of a new one, the removal of a Member of the Supervisory Board of Energo Příbram, adopted a decision to increase the share capital and to change the content of the Articles of Association or indirectly approved the financial statements of the acquired undertaking.

However, Natland did not file the application for approval of the concentration between undertakings until November 2020. According to the Act on the Protection of Competition, the merging undertakings may not exercise control over the undertaking being acquired before the application for authorisation of the concentration is filed and the approval decision of the Office comes into force. The infringement of this obligation, so-called gun jumping, is punishable by a fine of up to 10% of the net turnover of the undertaking.

In the administrative proceedings, Natland entered into a settlement agreement within which it admitted its illegal conduct as classified by the Office, for which the fine was reduced by 20 % afterwards.

 

Press Unit of the Office for the Protection of Competition
22/022 -S0518/2020

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