Merger control rules changed

Hungary: Simpler notification-based procedure, lower fees

The Act on Prohibition of Unfair Trading Practices and Unfair Competition has recently been amended with regard to the EU harmonisation procedure. The main elements of the amendments are:

Obligation to notify

Instead of the prior merger clearance system based on an application for clearance, now it is enough to notify a proposed merger by filing a form. This does not lead automatically to the start of the competition control procedure, which now begins only if it is not clear whether the concentration would lead to competition concerns according to the Competition Authority. The Authority has eight days to process notifications. Within this deadline the authority must decide whether to initiate the competition control procedure or accept the merger and issue an official certificate to that effect. The new regulation thus ensures that simpler cases can be closed as expeditiously as possible.

Increase of merger threshold

The increase of the threshold also helps as it decreases the number of mergers to be notified. The HUF 500 million (EUR 1 614 286) threshold based on net group turnover increases to HUF 1 billion (EUR 3 228 612), while the aggregate threshold of HUF 15 billion (EUR 48 429 189) remains unchanged. A notification will also be required if the total net turnover of the undertakings concerned exceeds HUF 5 billion (EUR 16 144 105) and it is not obvious that the merger might not significantly restrict competition, a matter that is to be decided by the undertakings. The authority may start investigations ex-officio in cases of lack of notification within six months following the closing of a transaction if it concerns a merger.

Reduced fees

The procedural fee is significantly decreased. The former HUF 4 million (EUR 12 915) fee is reduced to HUF 1 million (EUR 3 229) in relation to the obligation to notify. However, if an official competition control procedure is started because it is not clear whether the concentration would lead to a significant lessening of competition, then an additional HUF 15 million (EUR 48 432) is payable besides the HUF 1 million. If the procedure starts because this question cannot be decided on the basis of the information provided in the notification, then notification has to be completed and an additional HUF 3 million (EUR 9 686) is payable besides the HUF 1 million.

Source: Act LVII of 1996 on the Prohibition of Unfair Trading Practices and Unfair Competition

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