SUPREME ADMINISTRATIVE COURT OF LITHUANIA: COMPETITION COUNCIL LEGITIMATELY BLOCKED MERGER BETWEEN MALT PRODUCERS

The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania (Court) upheld the Competition Council’s decision, according to which the Council prohibited the acquisition of 100 per cent of Maltosa shares by Viking Malt Oy.

On 15 October 2015 the Council found that the intended merger will restrict competition in the market of pilsen malt production and distribution in Lithuania, therefore, the merger between the pilsen malt producers was blocked.

The Court agreed that the merger would restrict competition among the market participants and create favorable conditions for the merging parties to increase the prices of pilsen malt in Lithuania.

The Court also noted that the merging companies have the duty to propose remedies to eliminate competition concerns, however, in this case, the remedies proposed by Viking Malt Oy did not remove the uncertainties identified by the Council.

The Court agreed that in its commitments Viking Malt Oy established inappropriate requirements for the trustee, to whom the business of Maltosa was supposed to be transferred. According to the Court, the proposed requirements were not sufficient to ensure that the right purchaser was chosen to safeguard effective competition in the market in question.