The Competition Authority issued 28 merger control clearance decisions in 2016, conducted one dawn raid and implemented no fines. The authority has announced that, with the help of the EU Delegation to Montenegro, it plans to purchase forensic software and technical equipment in 2018 which will allow it to continue its investigation activities.
In 2016 the Competition Authority received 33 merger control notifications and issued 28 decisions. Most of the concentrations were in the telecommunications, media and pharmaceutical sectors. There was a slight decrease of approximately 6% in the number of merger control notifications submitted in 2016 in comparison to 2015.
The Competition Authority recently conducted a dawn raid at the premises of Sava Trans doo in Cetinje to collect the data required for it to proceed with a case. Throughout the raid, authority officials acted in compliance with legislation and Sava Trans maintained a high level of cooperation.
The Competition Protection Agency recently adopted its 2017 Financial Plan, which includes strengthening administrative capacity, conducting dawn raids and preventing competition infringement. Further, the European Commission determined in its annual report that there is a need for the agency to strengthen its administrative capacity and issued a recommendation for the agency to increase the number of its employees.
A Technical Assistance and Information Exchange regional workshop on the enhancement of cooperation between Western Balkan competition authorities was recently held in Podgorica, Montenegro.The Montenegrin Competition Agency director noted that it is necessary to ensure a uniform competition law approach in the Western Balkans, mainly in order to help both foreign and regional investors feel protected against actions that could put the equality of all market participants at risk.
From 2014 to 2016 the Competition Authority was part of a project sponsored by the European Commission concerning the alignment of competition legislation in Montenegro with EU standards. The project results show that competition policy improved significantly between 2014 and 2016, and that increased court support with the implementation of fines will be introduced to aid further development.
The Competition Authority recently published its 2014 annual report, revealing that in 2014 a total of 25 decisions were rendered. Four of the decisions concerned joint ventures and the rest were about the acquisition of control. Notably for participants in foreign-to-foreign transactions, only six notifications concerned the Montenegrin market, while 19 notified transactions were classified as extraterritorial.