The Comisión Nacional de Defensa de la Competencia ("Antitrust Agency") is working on a bill of law that will be sent to Congress in the next few months to amend Argentine Law 25,156 (the "Antitrust Law"). We, along with other relevant actors of the Argentine antitrust sector, have been invited by the Antitrust Agency to cooperate in the preparation of that bill. The draft bill contemplates mainly:
- Institutional Framework.
Creation of a new independent, autarchic, antitrust agency -- the Autoridad Nacional de la Competencia or "ANC") -- within the framework of the Executive Branch of Government, and allocation of powers and authorizations to that agency. The ANC shall have five members: President and four officers, who shall be required to count with technical expertise and sound background. The positions shall have a five-year term, and specific early termination (removal) events shall be contemplated. 2. Penalties.
New provisions shall be contemplated for the determination of money penalties (fines) increasing the deterring power in respect to anticompetitive conducts. Calculation of fine: up to 30% of the business volume (revenue) within the relevant affected market, multiplied by the amount of years the conduct has been exercised. Threshold: 10% of the international business volume (revenue) obtained by the economic group during the last fiscal year. Recurrence: multiplication of the fine up to a ratio of x2. Creation of a Leniency Program. In this case, it would result in providing immunity or penalties reduction to those who provide evidence that allow the detection and penalization of cartels. 3.- Antitrust Clearance in respect to M&As ("Mergers").
Implementation of a prior control, working ex-ante (to replace the current so-called "close at your risk" system). Modification (increase) of the filing thresholds, and the provisions for calculation thereof. Creation of a fast-track filing procedure for those Mergers that in the criteria of the ANC have a lesser probability of falling under the law provisions of forbidden Mergers. 4. - Compensation of Damages.
Legal actions to seek damages' compensation for violations of the Antitrust Law shall be specifically contemplated. Up to this date those actions are...