Wednesday, 28 December 2022

Press Release - Clearance of the acquisition of SYNERGAZOMENI PANTOPOLES by KRITIKOS ANEDIK under commitments

SUBJECT: Clearance of the proposed acquisition regarding the change in control over the company SYNERGAZOMENI PANTOPOLES S.A., from the exclusive control of the company ELLINIKA MARKETS S.A. in the exclusive control of the company KRITIKOS ANEDIK S.A. subject to terms and conditions (remedies) (Phase I merger).

By its unanimous Decision No. 803/2022, the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) approved under Greek merger control rules, the proposed acquisition by " KRITIKOS ANEDIK S.A. " over super market stores of " SYNERGAZOMENI PANTOPOLES S.A. ", according to article 8 paragraph 3 and paragraph 4A of Law 3959/2011, in the Greek super markets sector. The acquisition includes, among other things, all of the privately owned stores, the privately owned store brands as well as the network of partners of the company SYNERGAZOMENI PANTOPOLES, either through the ongoing use of the store brands managed by the latter, or through their ongoing wholesale to retail relationship.

The relevant markets for the merger in question are the retail market for consumer goods of daily use distributed through hypermarkets, supermarkets, mini markets and discount stores and the supply market which concerns the upstream market of the distribution of supermarket items and includes the sale of supermarket items from producers/suppliers to buyers/retailers, such as wholesale or retail trade businesses and other businesses (such as HO.RE.CA.), nationwide.

For the purposes of the merger, in order to fully examine the competition conditions, a further segmentation of the relevant geographic market was made regarding the retail sale of supermarket items at a local level and specifically within a radius of up to 10 minutes by car for urban areas and up to 30 minutes by car for semi-urban areas, for the regions of Aitoloakarnania, Grevena, Evia, Imathia, Heraklion, Thessaloniki, Kavala (Thassos Island), Karditsa, Kastoria, Kilkis, Kozani, Larissa, Lasithi, Lefkada, Pella, Pieria, Rethymnon, Florina, Halkidiki and Chania.

According to the Decision, there are no special circumstances that create doubts as to the compatibility of the concentration under assessment with competition in the above relevant markets nationwide at the level of privately owned stores, while at the same time, in the above local markets in terms of the retail sale of super markets these are subject to significant competitive pressures from competing nationwide super markets chains. In particular, there is a simultaneous presence of at least one store of a nationwide supermarket chain with at least a market share comparable to that of the new entity post merger.

In two cases of collaborating stores in the areas of Grevena and Rethymno, the seriousness of any possible effects on competition is mitigated by the fact that these are stores-potential targets of the concentration under evaluation, i.e. they will not be transferred to ANEDIK KRITIKOS but will continue to have a cooperative relationship, through the use of common store brands, participation in joint brochures and joint promotions, use of joint loyalty cards and placement of private label codes, and jointly, the merged companies proposed and undertook, the following remedies: the companies will cease in any way and under any type of granting the use of the transferable Store Brands to the Stores, and will refrain from granting such use in the future. They will also refrain from granting use in any way and under any type to the Stores of any other Store Brand owned or managed by ANEDIK KRITIKOS.

It should be noted that this is the first case of a Decision in which the HCC approves a Merger under proposed corrective measures, in the short Phase I (following the recent changes of Law 4886/2022), without initiating the process of the full investigation of the Merger and the extended deadlines of (Phase II).

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