3 June 2014 – The draft amendment to Law n° 06-99 on freedom of prices and competition was adopted on February 5, 2014 by the House of Representatives (next step is the House of Councillors). This amendment takes into account the progression of the Moroccan economy, experience in this area since the entry into force in 2001 of Law n° 06-99, as well as changes in competition law worldwide. The Competition Council will be granted effective decision-making authority with respect to anticompetitive practices, merger control and may initiate on its own investigations with respect to all practices that may affect the operation of free competition in line with the terms of the new Constitution which has already invested the Competition Council with greater powers (Article 166 of the Constitution dated July 29, 2011). With respect to merger notification, Law n° 06-99 presently sets forth an obligation to notify a concentration to the relevant authorities (in this case, the Prime Minister’s office) only if the parties and the target(s) (and any entities tied to them) have accounted together during the previous calendar year for more than 40% of the sales, purchases or other transactions in a national market of goods, products or services of the same kind or substitutable, or in a significant part of such market. This provision will be amended to correspond more closely to European rules. Notification will be required, before the realization of the operation, if any one of the following three conditions is satisfied:
- the total global turnover of the parties to the merger exceeds a certain threshold (to be determined in implementing regulations);
- the total turnover excluding taxes of at least two of the parties to the merger exceeds a specific threshold (to be defined by regulation);
- the parties have accounted together during the previous calendar year for more than 40% of the sales, purchases or other transactions in a national market of goods, products or services of the same kind or substitutable, or in a significant part of such market (the current criterion).
In this respect, Baker & McKenzie makes available to you a team of experts in antitrust/competition law to assist you in complying with these regulations.