Competition and antitrust

Your guide through the local antitrust regulations.

Competition and antitrust issues gain in prominence every year. With the variety of business practices that can give rise to competition proceedings growing, antitrust challenges and follow on actions increasing and fines escalating in severity, no one can afford to be without the best advice. And, as Serbia develops its competition regulations in anticipation of EU membership, the importance of antitrust issues are set to become even more pronounced.

Stankovic & Partners (NSTLAW) has developed in-depth expertise in all aspects of Serbian, Montenegrin and Bosnian competition and antitrust law. We advise clients from a wide range of sectors on obtaining merger clearance, handling complex processes from start to finish. We also advise our international clients on their distribution and franchising networks, conducting antitrust audits and ensuring that their commercial practices remain compliant with local law. State aid and public procurement also form significant elements of our practice, and we have considerable experience of providing training to key business personnel on all aspects of competition regulation and practices.

When contentious issues arise, including cartel allegations and follow-on claims, the competition group works closely with our large and highly regarded dispute resolution team to represent clients before the competition authorities and courts of Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Here our profound understanding of domestic antitrust regulations, together with our firm grasp of the approaches of the courts and regulators, help us to advise clients on the right strategies to adopt. Whatever the issue, though, our aim is always to gain a clear understanding of our clients’ business goals and provide advice that is effective, pragmatic and targeted.

Our clients include a number of high profile global pharmaceuticals companies such as Novartis, Takeda and GlaxoSmithKline Export Ltd UK, as well as prominent domestic and international names in a range of other highly regulated sectors, such as telecoms, energy, banking and insurance. These include Apatinska pivara Apatin (part of Molson Coors Group), Elektroprivreda Srbije (JP EPS) (a public utilities company), Imlek, Monster Energy, Novo Nordisk, Raiffeisen Bank Belgrade, Sport Vision, Sport Time and VIP Mobile d.o.o. Serbia.

Recent highlights:

  • representing Sport Vision and Sport Time, the largest distributor of sports equipment in the Republic of Serbia and the region, in connection with an exclusive agreement for the distribution of a major international brand of sports equipment. A subsequent challenge to this led to a landmark decision in a case heard before the antitrust authority in Serbia;
  • representing Imlek AD in obtaining approval of concentration in Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was connected with its acquisition of Niska Mlekara AD.
  • acting for Takeda, the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan and Asia, on competition issues associated with its plan to introduce an exclusive distribution model in Serbia;
  • assisting Apatinska brewery, part of Molson Coors Group, with a review of its commercial strategy and its antitrust policy in connection with a sector inquiry by the Competition Authority in the FMCG market;
  • obtaining merger clearance from the Agency for Protection of Competition of Montenegro following the announced €24 million purchase by Swedish investor Savana Holding AB of a hotel and shopping mall in Podgorica from a Montenegro company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Turkish Gintas Group;
  • obtaining clearance from the Serbian Competition Authority following the announced acquisition by Boja doo Sombor of Vojvodinaput, a specialist infrastructure construction and maintenance company in Serbia and Montenegro;
  • advising a major Serbian mobile network operator on potential issues identified in relation to the abusive and/or anticompetitive actions undertaken by the incumbent provider in the mobile and cable network market;
  • providing training to senior executives at Trebjesa ad Niksic and Apatinska Brewery (the biggest breweries in Serbia and Montenegro) on compliance procedures;
  • representing an insurance company as a leniency applicant before the Serbian Council of Competition in the context of an alleged cartel;
  • representing Wiener Stadtische, and also insurance company Energo Projekt Garant, in relation to separate approvals for exemption from the prohibited agreement regulations.