Competition and Antitrust
The competition protection policy is of paramount importance for Bulgaria and it was regulated by law immediately after the political changes in 1989. Due to the priority which the government gives to these issues, the domestic competition law had been harmonized with the acquis communautaire of the European Union (EU) long before Bulgaria acceded to the Union when its harmonization level was assessed as higher than that in some old Member States. After the EU accession and especially with the adoption of the existing Competition Protection Act (CPA) of 2008, the Bulgarian competition law became fully harmonized with the European standards with regard to concentrations, prohibited agreements between undertakings, concerted practices and the abuse of dominant position, while retaining some specific aspects of the treatment of unfair competition which is handled by the competition protection authorities, unlike some other European countries where these matters are examined in court.
PM&P was among the first law offices in Bulgaria to specialize in the domain of competition law. It has been working on competition law cases of the first Competition Protection Commission (CPC) ever since the adoption of the earliest CPA of 1992. Over the years, the competition law group of the law firm has become a leading team in the country, which has been repeatedly recognized by the most prestigious law publications such as Chambers & Partners, Legal 500, PLC Which Lawyer? and others.
The law firm has established its positions and authority in this sphere through its participation in a number of investment projects and investigations of competition authorities in all aspects of competition law such as global mergers like Hewlett-Packard/Compaq, BASF/Cyanamid, as well as the most important ones on the Bulgarian national market like the privatization and subsequent acquisitions of the Bulgarian telecom BTC AD, the restructuring of the cement market and others; in the investigations of cartel agreements and abuses by taking part in some major CPC investigations into the practices of retail trade chains, the association of cement producers and others, as well as investigations into the possible abuse of dominant position against worldwide known soft drink producers.
PM&P has also gained substantial experience in handling unfair competition cases which, under the specific Bulgarian laws, fall within the remit of the competition authorities and are subject to the same penalties as cartel agreements, which make them particularly important to businesses.