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Illegal merger: Cartel Court imposes a fine of EUR 28,000 on Granit Holding GmbH at AFCA’s request

On 12 October 2023, the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) filed an application to have Granit Holding GmbH (“Granit”) fined on the grounds of the prohibited implementation of a merger subject to notification obligations. The Cartel Court has now imposed a fine of EUR 28,000.

The acquiring company Granit (or its subsidiary) aimed to acquire all officially registered employees of the target company, Stvarnik Bau-Gesellschaft m.b.H. (now SIG Bau GmbH) and to continue with construction projects yet to be completed. Granit is mainly engaged in the fields of building construction, industrial construction and civil engineering as a general contractor and property developer. The target company focused primarily on planning small residential buildings, as well as on agricultural and industrial buildings.

On 14 April 2023, the acquirer notified the AFCA retroactively of the merger. Since the merger did not raise any concerns, the AFCA cleared it with effect from 13 May 2023.

The company cooperated with the Federal Competition Authority and the Federal Cartel Prosecutor, acknowledging the infringement.

The Cartel Court’s decision is final.

Illegal mergers

Illegal mergers are mergers subject to notification obligations that are implemented without approval or in a manner that deviates from the approved transaction. The Cartel Court may impose fines for illegal mergers at the request of the AFCA.