The Slovenian merger control rules are set out in the Prevention of Restriction of Competition Act 2008, which replaced the 1999 act of the same name. The act sets out substantive and procedural rules governing merger control; in terms of the latter, it is supplemented by the General Administrative Procedure Act. In addition, the contents of the compulsory merger notification form are set out in a government regulation.
The act amending the Competition Act was recently published in the Official Gazette. The new act will bring about the long-awaited reorganisation of the Competition Authority (currently organised as an administrative body within the Ministry for Economic Affairs) as an independent agency. The authority will be governed by the Agency Council, the Competition Council and the agency director.
The Competition Protection Office recently initiated ex officio merger control proceedings against the Federation of Slovenian Retired Persons' Societies. According to the office, the federation had acquired control over Vzajemna Zdravstvena zavarovalnica dvz, a Slovenian mutual health insurance company, but failed to notify the concentration within the statutory 30-day time limit.
In August 2008 the Competition Protection Office found that five Slovenian electricity distributors had breached competition rules by way of a simultaneous price rise. Recently an interesting epilogue was added to the decision: a private initiative led by a Slovenian economist has set a precedent for the future private enforcement of damages in cases of antitrust violations where the harm caused is substantial but widespread.
The status of the Competition Protection Office has been the subject of recent lively public debate. Since its establishment in 1994 the office has been organized as a department within the Ministry for Economic Affairs. However, a new development may be on the cards as the Ministry for Economic Affairs recently adopted a proposal for an Act on the Establishment of the Slovenian Agency for Protection of Competition and Consumers.
According to public speculation, one of the participants in the alleged cartel between a number of Slovenian construction companies - currently under investigation by the Slovenian Competition Protection Office - applied for immunity from a fine in exchange for certain disclosures which reportedly enabled the office to conduct effectively a series of recent dawn raids at the premises of the companies.