The Office for Competition within the MCCAA has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether the proposed acquisition of Lidl Immobiliare Malta Limited (Purchaser) of some of the buildings belonging to Said Investments Limited (Vendor) and leases belonging to Scotts Limited (Tenant) is in line with the Control of Concentrations Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation 379.08).
Should the parties’ request be acceded by the Office for Competition, Lidl Immobiliare Malta Limited will be acquiring the Scotts Supermarket in Burmarrad, the one in Sliema, the Żabbar grocery retail outlet as well as two divided portions of undeveloped land in Attard. The acquirer intends to lease out the above-mentioned properties to Lidl Malta Limited to operate grocery retail activities.
The Office for Competition has serious doubts regarding the compatibility of the proposed concentration with the Control of Concentrations Regulations and believes that it may limit competition in the grocery retail market. This is primarily because the proposed concentration could lead to horizontal unilateral effects, both existing and future constraints, harming competition and consumer welfare in the process. Consequently, the proposed concentration may lead to a substantial lessening of competition in the grocery retail market, especially at the local level. For the reasons above, the Office requires detailed market data to be able to carry out its assessment and quantify the effects of this acquisition on competition. Accordingly, the Office for Competition is initiating proceedings for an in-depth investigation in accordance with regulation 6(1)(iii) of the Control of Concentrations Regulations.
Upon the closing of the phase II investigation, the Office for Competition may:
Adopt a non-opposition decision, if it considers that the concentration, as notified, or following modifications by the notifying parties through remedies, is not likely to create significant impediments to effective competition in the relevant markets; or
Adopt a prohibition decision, if it considers that the concentration is likely to create significant impediments to effective competition in the relevant markets.