On 25 April 2019, the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMC) imposed two highest fines to date for acquisitions without prior merger clearance. The first fine amounts to approx. EUR 1.9 million (UAH 58 million), and the second one – approx. EUR 1.8 million (UAH 55 million). Each of them by far exceed the previous record fine for a similar offence – approx. EUR 500,000 (UAH 15 million) – which was imposed several months ago.
The first fine (EUR 1.9 million) was imposed on Senalior Investments LTD, a Cyprus company belonging to Ukrainian financial and industrial group DCH, for the acquisition of control over Dnipro Iron Works, one of the oldest and biggest Ukrainian manufacturers of cast iron, coal coke, and coke chemical products. Along with imposing the fine, the AMC also approved the transaction.
The second fine (EUR 1.8 million) hit Ukrainian investment group TAS for the acquisition of Dniprometiz, an industrial plant producing low-carbon wires, nails, fasteners, etc. Unlike in the other case, the AMC has not yet approved the transaction, reportedly, because the seller of Dniprometiz – JSC "Severstal" – is a Russian company on Ukraine’s sanctions list.
Before the AMC publishes relevant decisions it remains unclear whether the AMC saw any substantive competition concerns. Most likely there were no serious concerns (as otherwise the deals would have been prohibited), but the AMC simply did not apply the lowest range of fines available under the Fining Guideline for "technical violations" because of the overlapping activities of the targets and the acquirers. In any event, such drastic increase in the level of fines sends a clear message that the AMC wants merging parties to take merger control regime more seriously.