The Competition Authority issues NOK 7 million fine for breach of information obligations in a merger control case
In March 2019, Vygruppen (Norway’s incumbent railway operator) and Fjord1 (a ferry company) filed a notification under the merger control provisions of the Competition Act, for the establishment of a tourism company, and the acquisition of control over Fjord Tours. In the notification, Vygruppen stated that the company would not be in a position to deny competitors of Fjord Tours access to the Flåmsbanen, a railway route which is one of Norway’s most famous tourist attractions.
During the proceedings, the Competition Authority was informed that Vygruppen had notified the termination of an agreement that regulated, among other things, the sale of tickets to Flåmsbanen. This information was relevant to the Authority’s assessment of whether Vygruppen would be able to control ticket sales to Flåmsbanen post-transaction.
Incorrect or incomplete information in a merger filing gives rise to a risk that important issues are left out or misrepresented, even if they are relevant to the assessment of the transaction’s potential to impact or significantly impede effective competition. The Competition Authority concluded the examination of the transaction on April 5, 2019. According to the Authority, the incorrect information in the notification was relevant to the assessment of the concentration. Although this was not crucial to the outcome of the case, the Competition Authority considered that the breach qualified for a significant fine of NOK 7 million (€ 770.000).