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Illegal merger: AFCA filed application with Cartel Court to impose a fine of EUR 28,000 on Granit

On 12 October 2023, the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) filed an application to fine Granit Holding GmbH (“Granit”) on the grounds of an illegal merger subject to notification obligations. The company has acknowledged the infringement.

The merger was aimed at acquiring 100% of the target company’s operations, Stvarnik Bau-Gesellschaft m.b.H. (“Stvarnik”). The acquiring company, 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. After being asked to clarify the circumstances of the transaction, Granit stated that the majority of the target company’s employees had been transferred to a company in which it held a 85% stake on 1 April 2023.

The company cooperated with the Federal Competition Authority and the Federal Cartel Prosecutor, acknowledging the infringement. The acquirer accepted the fine of EUR 28,000.

Since the merger did not raise any concerns, the AFCA cleared it with effect from 13 May 2023.

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.