The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) needs the right to investigate, on its own initiative, any acquisitions in which it identifies potential problems for consumers. The most recent example of a transaction in which the FCCA does not have the power to intervene is the transaction between Koiviston Auto and Onnibus.com.
Corporate acquisitions detrimental to competition and consumers occur on the market. However, the FCCA does not have the powers to investigate them if they remain below the turnover thresholds set by the Competition Act: the combined turnover of the parties must exceed 350 million euros and the turnover from Finland of at least two of the parties must exceed 20 million euros each.
The current turnover thresholds are relatively high for an economy of Finland’s size. For example, in 2006, the FCCA could not investigate the merger between Finnkino and Sandrew Metronome Finland, resulting in a major concentration of the cinema industry in Finland.
In special cases, the FCCA should have the right to investigate potentially problematic corporate transactions that remain below the turnover threshold. The use of such investigatory powers would only apply to exceptional situations defined by law or the related preparatory legislative work.
In Sweden, the competition authority has been entitled to consider corporate transactions in special cases since 1997, even if the combined turnover of the parties does not exceed the threshold defined by law.
According to information available in the public domain, the merger between Koiviston Auto and Onnibus.com does not exceed the turnover thresholds. This being the case, the FCCA does not have the powers to investigate how the transaction will affect consumer prices in the long-distance coach services market, whether bus services will decrease excessively on certain routes, or whether the transaction will be otherwise detrimental to consumers.
The FCCA finds the corporate transaction between Koiviston Auto and Onnibus.com potentially problematic for consumers, and would take up the matter for investigation if it had the powers to do so.
Valtteri Virtanen, Assistant Director, tel. +358 29 505 3621
Sanna Syrjälä, Assistant Director, tel. +358 29 505 3385