On 30 July 2020, the CCPC published its Annual Report 2019. This reviews the enforcement and other work undertaken by the CCPC in 2019.
Competition Law Enforcement
Ongoing cases in 2019 under the Competition Act 2002, as amended, include investigations into:
- potential price signalling in the private motor insurance sector;
- potential anti-competitive practices in the provision of tickets and the operation of ticketing services for live events;
- potential bid-rigging in the procurement of publicly funded transport services; and
- potential anti-competitive practices in the beef processing sector (this has since been closed).
The CCPC also closed its investigation into alleged abuse of dominance in the bagged cement sector.
The increased financial thresholds which took effect in the merger control regime on 1 January 2019 resulted in a 52% reduction in merger notifications in between 2018 and 2019. In 2019, the CCPC received 47 merger notifications and issued 49 Determinations. The CCPC also hosted its first oral submissions procedure in M/18/063 Berendson / Kings Laundry and began work on the new simplified merger procedure (which commenced on 1 July 2020). The first criminal prosecution for gun-jumping was also brought.
The CCPC states that it anticipates an increase in the number and complexity of merger notifications upon the expiry of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020.
In August 2019, the CCPC commenced a market study into the public liability insurance market.
Transposition of the ECN+ Directive
Under current Irish law, the CCPC does not have the power to impose fines for breach of competition law and instead it must enforce the law before the courts. The CCPC notes that the ECN+ Directive will introduce a number of significant changes to the current competition law enforcement regime in Ireland, in particular the requirement to introduce non-criminal financial sanctions for breaches of EU competition law or breaches of both EU and Irish competition law. The CCPC states that it is working closely with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation on the transposition of the ECN+ Directive. The ECN+ Directive must be transposed by 4 February 2021.
The CCPC’s budget in 2019 was €13,100,000 and its expenditure in 2019 was €12,337,793. As at the end of the 2019, the CCPC had 105 staff.
For further information, please contact any member of the William Fry Competition & Regulation team. The CCPC’s Annual Report 2019 is available here.