Belgium merger control
Produced in partnership with Van Bael & Bellis
Belgium merger control

The following Competition guidance note Produced in partnership with Van Bael & Bellis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Belgium merger control
  • 1. Have there been recent developments regarding the Belgian merger control regime? What are the main points of interest and are any further updates/developments expected? Are there any other ‘hot’ merger control issues in Belgium?
  • 2. Under Belgian merger control law, is the control test the same as the EU concept of ‘decisive influence’? If not, how does it differ and what is the position in relation to 'minority shareholdings'?
  • 3. Are joint ventures caught by the national merger control provisions (including non-structural, cooperative joint ventures)?
  • 4. What are the merger control thresholds and would a purely foreign-to-foreign transaction be caught (commenting on any ‘effects’ doctrine/policy if relevant)?
  • 5. Are there any specific issues parties should be aware of when compiling and calculating the relevant turnover for applying the jurisdictional thresholds?
  • 6. Where the jurisdictional thresholds are met, is notification mandatory and must closing be suspended pending clearance?
  • 7. Is there any discretion to review transactions that fall below the notification thresholds?
  • 8. Is it possible to close the deal globally prior to local clearance?
  • 9. Is there a deadline for filing a notifiable transaction and what is the timetable thereafter for review by the Belgian Competition Authority?
  • more

A conversation with Valérie Lefever , associate in the Brussels office of specialist competition law firm Van Bael & Bellis on key issues on merger control in Belgium.

NOTE–to see whether notification thresholds in Belgium and throughout the world are met, see Where to Notify.

1. Have there been recent developments regarding the Belgian merger control regime? What are the main points of interest and are any further updates/developments expected? Are there any other ‘hot’ merger control issues in Belgium?

In Belgium, merger control rules were first introduced by the Act on the Protection of Economic Competition on 5 August 1991. At that time, the Belgian thresholds included both a turnover and a market share threshold. The 1991 Act was subsequently replaced by the 1999 Act, which was in turn replaced by the 2006 Act on the Protection of Economic Competition. The 2006 Act introduced a number of important changes in the area of merger control, mainly due to the fact that the substantive test for reviewing mergers was aligned with the test introduced at the EU level by the EU Merger Regulation. On 3 April 2013, a new Act inserted the competition law regime into Book IV of the Belgian Code of Economic Law (CEL). The 2013 reform brought about procedural changes and established the current institutional structure of Belgian Competition