The bill for a new Swedish Competition Act has been presented to the Swedish parliament, the Riksdag. The Swedish government published a draft proposal for a new Competition Act on 21 February 2008. The new Competition Act is proposed to replace the old Competition Act of 1993 from 1 November 2008.
Highlights from the bill include:
the Competition Authority is authorised to impose administrative fines for breaches of the Competition Act in non-contentious cases.
a leave to appeal will be required in order to appeal from the court of first instance to the final court in competition law cases.
the statute of limitations in competition law cases is lengthened to a maximum of ten years.
regulations on the calculation of fines and on leniency will be more closely harmonised with the EU rules.
private enforcement actions will be brought together with cases brought by the Competition Authority, which presently isn’t possible.
the rules on compensation for costs incurred by court proceedings will be amended, e.g. clarifying that the Competition Authority will no longer be liable for the opposing party’s costs when the Authority mounts a court challenge to a proposed merger and the merger is subsequently called off.
The Trading Prohibition Act of 1986 will be amended to encompass certain breaches of the Competition Act, proposing a prohibition on trading for managing directors and board members who commit serious cartel infringements. Special liability is imposed on persons who are estimated to have the greatest possibility of influencing actions taken by the company, whilst a person who exposes a cartel to the SCA or is helpful in the investigation can avoid the prohibition.
The present merger review regulations are to be more closely harmonised with the EU rules. Notification thresholds are to be changed from a combined global turnover of SEK four billion to SEK one billion, while the turnover threshold in Sweden for each undertaking concerned is to be raised from SEK 100 million to SEK 200 million.
The status of the existing Ordinances on block exemptions will be changed into laws. However, the bill does not introduce any criminalisation of breaches of the Competition Act, nor introduce fees for processing merger notifications.
Source: Bill for new Competition Act prop. 2007/08:135 (in Swedish only) available at http://www.regeringen.se/sb/d/10284/a/102030