Update of legislation authorising the Swedish Competition Authority to request information

17 September 2010

Henrik Nilsson, Annie Kabala

The Swedish government has on 12 May 2010 tabled before the Riksdag a bill for a new Act on the Obligation to Provide Information Regarding Market and Competition Conditions. The Act is proposed to come into force on 1 January 2011.

The Swedish Competition Authority (“KKV”) has the right to investigate undertakings and in this context to request information under the Swedish Competition Act. KKV however has information needs outside of the scope of its investigations, such as in the course of its sector studies.

KKV’s demands for information outside the framework of a specific investigation are based on legislation from 1956 which has come to be seen as quite outdated. Although the legislation has been used only three times in the past five years, it has been considered important for KKV’s activities. The new Act maintains the KKV authority under the 1956 law, but is updated to correspond with the Competition Act of 2008, reflecting current terminology. The main reason for the new legislation, according to the preparatory legislative works, is to assist KKV in promoting effective competition in the private and public sectors and efficient public procurement.

The new Act gives KKV the right to request information and documents from companies and “others”, as well as from municipalities and counties that engage in economic or commercial activities. The information requested can be related to the company’s future plans and strategic considerations, and the demand can be sanctioned with a fine. The new Act states that those required to provide information should not be burdened unnecessarily. As soon as a specific investigation is initiated under the Competition Act, the new Act is no longer applicable.

Source: Preparatory legislative work http://www.riksdagen.se/webbnav/index.aspx?nid=37&dok_id=GX03218