The new year started quite busily on the competition front in Turkey. The Turkish Competition Authority ("TCA") concluded several investigations in January, including in the insurance and cargo sectors, and imposed administrative monetary fines on numerous companies. Another important development in the first month of 2020 was that the TCA initiated a sector inquiry into digital markets. Below is a brief recap.
Digital markets sector inquiry
In January the TCA initiated a study in order to prepare a "Report on Digitalisation and Competition Policy". In its announcement, the TCA indicated that it welcomes contributions from stakeholders. The sector inquiry can serve as an important medium for undertakings active in digital markets to have their voices heard by the TCA.
As understood that after recent investigations into Google and Sahibinden.com (a prominent Turkish online sales platform), the TCA aims to keep pace with current international developments involving the digital economy. According to the TCA, its sector inquiry report will be finalised in 2020. It is expected that the TCA will also benefit from similar efforts undertaken by several other competition authorities including the European Commission and other EU competition authorities such as the Bundeskartellamt in Germany, the Autorité de la concurrence in France, and the CMA in the UK (although no longer an EU competition authority as of January 2020).
The Turkish Competition Board ("the Board") concluded the following investigations in January:
- The Board did not find an infringement in its investigation of two household appliances manufacturers, Arçelik and Vestel, and decided that neither had violated Law No.4054 by exchanging anti-competitive information.
- The Board imposed administrative monetary fines on five undertakings (Korulu, Meditera, Oncosem, Onkofar and Santek) active in the sale of chemotherapy medications for bid-rigging in hospital tenders.
- The Board considered that ten petrol stations operating in the city of Burdur violated Article 4 of Law No.4054 by increasing prices for auto gas, LPG and fuel oil, and each received an administrative fine.
- The Board imposed fines on DHL, TNT, UPS, and Yurtiçi Kargo for a total amount of approximately EUR 9.3 million for market sharing. There were 36 cargo companies involved in the investigation, but the Board concluded that only four had infringed competition.
- After an investigation concerning eight insurance companies, the Board concluded that Allianz, Dubai Starr, Ergo, Eureko and Sompo Japan had entered into an anti-competitive agreement and imposed administrative fines varying from 0.2% to 0.8% of the undertaking's annual turnover. The Board decided that Aksigorta, Axa and Zurich were not involved in the agreement.
- The Board imposed an administrative monetary fine on Mastervolt International, a marine power systems manufacturer, for the prevention of parallel trade. The Board concluded that Mastervolt's Turkish distributor, Artı Marin, did not infringe competition. The decision is a reassessment decision of the Board's previous decision on the matter in 2016, which was annulled by the Ankara Administrative Court. In 2016 the Board decided that there were no infringements.
Merger and acquisition decisions
In January the Board approved the following merger control filings at the Phase I stage:
- The merger of the defence and space activities of United Technologies Corporation with Raytheon.
- Franklin Resources, Inc.'s acquisition of sole control of Abraaj Turkey Fund I, L.P., Abraaj Turkey Fund I (B), L.P. and Abraaj Turkey Fund I (S), L.P., through which common control of Netlog Lojistik Hizmetleri A.Ş. and D-Market Elektronik Hizmetler ve Ticaret A.Ş. is achieved.
- A joint-venture between AMG Advanced Metallurgical Group N.V. and Shell Overseas Investments B.V.
- The joint control of Brand Industrial Holdings, INC by BCP Acquisitions LLC and CDR Boston Holdings, L.P.
- The transfer of OLT Offshore LNG Toscana S.p.A. to the joint control of First State Investments International Limited and Snam S.p.A.
- The acquisition of joint control by Polat Enerji of Doruk Enerji and Poyraz Enerji, through which sole control of Doğal Enerji is achieved.
- The acquisition and sole control of Chevron Khazar Limited by MOL Crossroads B.V.
- The joint acquisition and control of LGC Science Group Holdings Limited by subsidiaries of Astorg Asset Management S.a.r.l. and Cinven Capital Management.
- The acquisition of two stores of Dörtler Tüketim by Migros via transfer of the rental agreement.
- A joint venture between an indirect subsidiary of Alpla Holding GmbH and PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited.
- A joint venture between Mitsubishi Corporation LT, Inc. and Wilhelmsen Inland Services Holdings AS focusing on the domestic market of vehicle logistics.
- The acquisition of shares of Kybele Turizim and the right to operate Club Asteria by TT Hotels Turkey Otel Hizmetleri Turizm ve Ticaret A.Ş.
- The acquisition and control of Hilton Sao Paulo Morumbi Otel by HIS Special Account I Fundo de Investimento em Participações Multiestratégia.
- A joint venture to develop autonomous driving technologies between Hyundai Motor Company Ltd. And Aptiv PLV.
- The acquisition of sole control of ABB Management Holding AG by Hitachi Ltd.
- The indirect acquisition of sole control of Aircastle Limited by Marubeni Corporation and Mizuho Leasing Company, Limited.
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