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Minister extends thresholds for notification requirements in mergers

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, signed an order (2nd October 2018) to increase the financial thresholds at which the notification of a merger to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is required following a review of certain provisions under the Competition Act 2002 relating to mergers and acquisitions, including financial thresholds.

Under the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014, Part 3 of the Competition Act 2002 (relating to mergers and acquisition) was amended and these changes came into effect from 31 October 2014. In particular, amendments were made to the financial thresholds and the number of days in which the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) had to make a determination on a notified merger or acquisition.

The Minister said “Coming up to the third anniversary of the introduction of the amendments and the recovery of the Irish economy, a review was warranted. A public consultation was undertaken in the third quarter of 2017 to seek inputs to possible legislative amendments that might be considered”.
The Minister said that “I have accepted the outcome of the public consultation that the financial thresholds should be increased. The aggregate turnover of undertakings involved in a proposed merger or acquisition will increase from €50 million to €60 million and the turnover of two or more undertakings involved in the proposed merger or acquisition will increase from €3 million to €10 million”.
“These changes should reduce the burden on smaller enterprises as they will no longer have to notify the CCPC of proposed mergers. It will also align the Irish regime closer to international norms. The Order will come into effect on the 1st of January 2019” she added.

Note for Editors

SI No 388 of 2018 Competition Act 2002 (Section 27) Order 2018

This Ministerial Order amends Section 18(1) of the Competition Act 2002 (as amended) by altering the monetary amounts standing relating to the obligation to notify certain mergers and acquisitions.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 (2014 Act), which came into effect on the 31 October 2014, amended, amongst other matters, Part 3 of the Competition Act 2002 (2002 Act) relating to mergers and acquisitions. These amendments mainly related to changes to the financial thresholds and the number of days in which the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) had to make determinations on a notified merger or acquisition.

During the passage of the 2014 Act, the then Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr. Richard Bruton T.D., gave a commitment to review the operations of the amendments in due course. Coming up to the third anniversary of the introduction of the amendments and the recovery of the Irish economy, it was considered that such a review was warranted.

To this end, from end September to end November 2017, a public consultation process was undertaken to solicit views on the current system and to seek inputs as to possible legislative amendments that might be considered.

In relation to the financial thresholds introduced in the 2014 Act, prospective respondents were asked:

• Should the individual turnover threshold level be amended, and if so, at what level should it be set?
• Should the aggregate turnover threshold level be amended, and if so, at what level should it be set?

There was general agreement that the financial thresholds should be increased. The proposed changes are to increase:
• the aggregate turnover of the undertakings involved in the proposed merger or acquisition from €50 million to €60 million and
• the turnover of 2 or more undertakings involved in the proposed merger or acquisition from €3 million to €10 million.

Under Section 27 of the Competition Act 2002 the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation may make an order once, and once only, in each year, amending subsection (1)(a) of Section 18 of the 2002 Act by substituting for the monetary amount standing specified in subparagraph (i) or (ii) of that provision for the time being a monetary amount that is greater than that amount. This can be done if the Minister has regard to the economic data considered relevant to the purpose. Every order must be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas and if a resolution confirming the order is not passed by each House within 21 siting days, the order shall lapse.

ENDS


The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department also has a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

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