Recent Developments in Swedish Antitrust

A recent investigation by the Swedish Competition Authority (SCA) into a merger between Bokia and Akademibokhandeln concluded that the change in market concentration would not harm effective competition. 

The merger between Bokia and Akademibokhandeln (AKB)

In September, the Swedish Competition Authority (SCA) initiated its in-depth
phase-2 investigation of a proposed merger between the book stores Bokia (Bokia AB) and Akademibokhandeln (KF Media AB, Stiftelsen Natur & Kultur and Killbergs Bokhandel AB). A key question in the investigation was whether online retailers and grocery stores ought to be included in the same relevant product market as traditional physical book stores. The investigation concluded that physical book stores face competitive pressure from online retailers.

Both the SCA and the merging parties conducted customer surveys, both exit surveys and phone surveys, in order to analyse competitive pressure. The in-depth investigation was completed in December 2012, and it has been shown that the concentration will not significantly impede the existence or development of effective competition, which is the test the competition law imposes. Therefore, the SCA has decided to leave the concentration without action and the transaction can thus be completed.

The Competition Authority, Case 452/2012
The Competition Authority, Decision Case 452/2012

Currently two phase one investigations are undertaken by the SCA:

The market of contract manufacturing of electronics Lifco AB has made a public offer to acquire shares in NOTE AB for full control of NOTE AB. Lifco is an industrial group with approximately 3,200 employees and with subsidiaries in approximately 30 countries. Lifco operates in six business areas: Dental Products, Machinery and Tools, Sawmill Equipment, Contract Manufacturing, Interior to service vehicles and Environmental Engineering.

NOTE performs contract manufacturing for electronics products. NOTE manufactures circuit boards, sub-assemblies and complete products to original equipment manufacturers.

The Competition Authority, Case 698/2012

The market of the leasing of commercial properties Tredje AP-fonden (AP3) has notified the acquisition of 50% stake in Hemsö AB to the SCA. AP3 already owns 50% of shares in Hemsö and will thus acquire full control of Hemsö. AP3 is one of five buffer funds in the Swedish public pension system and manages a globally diversified portfolio of listed equities, fixed income and alternative investments. Hemsö owns and manages the property through subsidiaries or ownership interests in other companies.

The Competition Authority, Case 720/2012

Market news in brief

Proposal of new rules for electricity distribution tariffs

The Swedish Energy Market Inspectorate (EI) proposes new rules for how tariffs for electricity distribution should be designed. EI proposes in a report to the Swedish government that the rules for how network companies design their fees should be amended to reflect current grid load to make it easier for customers to influence their costs and contribute to more efficient use of electricity.

EI, Press release ”Ei föreslår nya regler för hur elnätsavgifter ska utformas”, 2013-01-01

New study of government’s broadband strategy and aid to broadband expansion

A commission is tasked by the government to report annually about the implementation of the Swedish government’s IT policy goals of 2009. The task is to analyze how broadband has evolved in relation to the goals the government set up in its broadband strategy in November 2009, and propose changes for increased coverage. One goal was that 40 percent of all households and businesses in Sweden would have access to broadband of at least 100Mbit/second capacity in 2015. According to a follow-up by the Post and Telecom Agency, PTS, that goal had already been achieved as 49 percent had access to such broadband in October 2011. The next goal is that 90 percent of all households and businesses will have such access by 2020. The study will also survey the national management of aid for broadband expansion and who received support during the period 2008-2012. An interim report shall be submitted to the Government by May 31 2013.

Riksdag & Department, ”Bredbandsstöd ska kartläggas” 2013-01-02

Kommittédirektiv, Dir 2012:123 ”Utvärdering av bredbandsstrategin”

The SCA tasked to propose measures to improve competition

The Minister for Enterprise and Government commissioned the Swedish Competition Authority in December 2012 to analyze the competition in Sweden, and propose measures to improve competition. The focus, according to a statement by the Minister for Enterprise, will be on areas with a lack of competition and the sectors in which diversity and new companies are prevented.

Näringsdepartmentet, ”Näringsminister Annie Lööf stärker konkurrensen”, 2012-12-20

Ekonomistyrningsverket, Regleringsbrev Konkurrensverket 2013–stod/Statsliggaren/Regleringsbrev/?RBID=14736

The SCA will investigate the need for further and additional analysis, based on the result on the report by The Swedish Agency for Public Management (Statskontoret) presented in 2012, an analysis of past re- and deregulation in Sweden.

Statskontoret, ”Utvärderingar av om- och avregleringar – en kartläggning 2012:10”

Gunilla Rönnholm

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