The Austrian Competition Authority requires electronic notification of mergers and announces delays in merger control due to COVID-19 restrictions

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update 9.4.2020: current operations in the AFCA and regulations relating to merger notifications and examinations*

Current regulations relating to merger notifications and examinations

Due to the current traffic restrictions and statutory special rules relating to official and court proceedings, the following applies:

Merger notifications may now only be submitted electronically through the ERV system (BWB No. Z008239) and during our office hours (Mon-Thurs 8am-4pm, Fri 8am-3pm).

  • Notifications submitted outside our office hours will be considered as having been submitted at the start of the following working day’s office hours.
  • Our physical offices are currently closed to the public.
  • Technical information (interface descriptions) about the ERV can be found here (in German).
  • The AFCA supports the direct exchange of documents among ERV participants (TLDZ).
  • If you have any further technical queries, please contact your service provider.
  • For other queries relating to merger notifications, please e-mail David Holzer at david.holzer[at]bwb.gv.at or Sandra Böhmwalder at sandra.boehmwalder[at]bwb.gv.at.

With regard to the period of time available to official parties to apply for a request for examination (§ 11 of the Federal Cartel Act), § 6 of the Second COVID-19 Act (under Article 21, Federal Law Gazette I No. 16/2020) applies:

  • For any merger notifications received by the BWB on or after 22 March 2020 and before 30 April 2020 (i.e. by 29 April 2020), the period of time will start on 1 May 2020 and end on 29 May 2020.

The Act does not refer to the impact of these special rules on the possibility of filing a preliminary waiver of examination in justified urgent cases.

  • The official parties assume that this option remains admissible.
  • A waiver of examination is only allowed in cases where there is no doubt about the accuracy and completeness of the notification and where an extensive examination of the notification’s contents is still possible under the current circumstances and will without doubt result in the planned merger being cleared.
  • Under the current circumstances, the option of filing an exceptional waiver of examination in applicable cases is to ensure processing within the usual 4-week deadline.

The current operations in the AFCA until at least 13.4.2020:

  • Our offices will be closed to the public until further notice. Office hours: Monday - Thursday 8 A.M. - 4 P.M., Friday 8 A.M. - 3 P.M.
  • We are cancelling all business conferences, meetings, personal appointments, summons and invitations to the Authority until further notice. Enquiries can be send to daniela.strenn[at]bwb.gv.at
  • Our switchboard is not staffed at all times.
  • We kindly ask that you get in touch by electronic means wherever possible and only contact us if your query or issue is urgent: please send enquiries to wettbewerb[at]bwb.gv.at.
  • In urgent cases, you may contact our deputy Managing Director/Head of Legal Service Natalie Harsdorf using the e-mail address natalie.harsdorf[at]bwb.gv.at and deputy Head of Legal Service Alexander Koprivnikar using the e-mail address alexander.koprivnikar[at]bwb.gv.at.

Our post room is not staffed at all times. We therefore advise against sending post to the AFCA.

*This is the original title of the press release. The title above has been amended in order to match the e-Competitions format. Individual authors are welcome to provide original independent commentaries on the case law. Articles are subject to approval by the Board of e-Competitions Bulletin before publication based on the Editorial Policy (click here).

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Austrian Competition Authority, The Austrian Competition Authority requires electronic notification of mergers and announces delays in merger control due to COVID-19 restrictions, 9 April 2020, e-Competitions April 2020, Art. N° 94409

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