COMPETITION COUNCIL CLEARED ACQUISITION OF 100 PER CENT OF PALINK SHARES BY RIMI LIETUVA SUBJECT TO CONDITIONS

On October 18 the Competition Council cleared the acquisition of 100 per cent of UAB Palink (PALINK) shares ant control by UAB Rimi Lietuva (RIMI) on condition that RIMI will sell part of its business related to retail trade.

Having examined the proposed merger, on August 23 the Council submitted its preliminary assessment to RIMI stating that the intended merger would create or strengthen a dominant position or significantly restrict competition in the markets of retail trade of consumer goods in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda and Panevėžys counties. On October 3 RIMI submitted written obligations which would eliminate the identified competition concerns. In order to ensure effective competition in the market, the company committed to sell 17 stores in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda and Panevėžys counties to a buyer or buyers that could safeguard effective competition in the retail trade market. These commitments were published on the Council‘s website so that any interested parties could submit their comments.

Having evaluated the comments provided by the Competition Council and the interested parties, RIMI proposed certain modifications to the commitments after which the Council concluded that they are sufficient to remove the identified competition concerns.

Today‘s decision by the Council does not result in any changes in the retail trade market. RIMI will have the right to acquire the control over PALINK only if it found a suitable buyer or buyers for all 17 stores, and received the Council‘s confirmation that the buyer who would conduct the retail trade activities in the purchased stores would be able to compete in the market effectively.

Elonas Šatas, Deputy Chairman

According to the Deputy Chairman, the Council established a few other conditions and commitments, the failure of which would impose on RIMI the duty to restore competition to its pre-merger state.

It is important to highlight that the merging parties will have the right to close the merger only after the Council oversaw RIMI compliance with the set obligations and conditions.

Any breach of merger conditions by a merging party might result in the duty to restore competition to its pre-merger state or a fine of up to 10 per cent of the gross annual income in the preceding business year.