The Danish Competition Act contains rules to prevent companies from limiting effective competition.
The Act includes two key bans - a ban on competition-restricting agreements between companies (Section 6), and a ban on companies abusing their dominant position (Section 11).
You are not allowed to enter into anti-competitive agreements, for example, any which fix purchasing and sales prices, that are divisive to markets or which set binding resale prices.
Abuse of dominant position
It is illegal for one or more businesses to abuse a dominant position they have acquired in the market. Abuse may mean:
- directly or indirectly imposing unreasonable purchase or sale prices;
- limiting production, sale or technical development to the detriment of the consumer;
- the use of unequal terms for different trading partners who as a result are placed in a less competitive position.
It is an offence to provide state funding that distorts competition and which is illegal according to public regulations. This also applies solely to state funding not covered by EU rules.
National competition authorities
The Danish Competition Authority is the secretariat of the Danish Competition Council, and it takes care of the day-to-day administration of the Danish Competition Act on behalf of the Council.
If the Competition Act is violated, the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority may, for example, ask you as the company to terminate agreements, change discount systems, etc.
Large cases and matters of principle are handled by the Danish Competition Council.
Strict provisions govern company mergers
If a merger exceeds the threshold values for merger control laid down in the Competition Act, it must be reported to the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority. Mergers that are covered by the Danish Competition Act rules on notification obligations may only be implemented once the Danish Competition Council has given its approval.
The merger is reported by completing a special form, which can be found on the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority website.
The companies are responsible for ensuring that the notification is complete and correct. The periods in the Danish Competition Act for considering a merger only start to run from the date when the Authority has received all the information and thus the complete notification.
If a state aid scheme conflicts with the Competition Act, the Danish Competition Council may issue an order for the aid to be stopped or repaid.
After receiving a notification , the Danish Competition Council may declare that state aid does not conflict with the Competition Act in the circumstances of which the Danish Competition Council is aware.
Notifications of state aid schemes may be submitted to the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority.
- by the relevant Ministry, region or local council under whose jurisdiction the aid falls; or
- by state aid beneficiaries.
Businesses that violate the Danish Competition Act risk:
- fines, which can run up to DKK 15 million or more;
- having to pay compensation to those who have suffered losses due to the illegal agreement.
As the manager of a business you may face personal fines if you have taken part or neglected to intervene in preventing anti-competitive behaviour. Your employees in less senior positions may sometimes risk a financial penalty. Any abuse of the Danish Competition Act will be notified to the press and published on the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority homepage.
Decisions by the Danish Competition Council may be brought before the Danish Competition Appeal Tribunal.
Once the Danish Competition Appeal Tribunal has made a decision on the case, the case may be brought before the courts.
A complaint to the Danish Competition Appeal Tribunal must be lodged no later than four weeks after the Danish Competition Council has made its decision on the case.
A complaint to the courts concerning a decision by the Danish Competition Appeal Tribunal must be lodged no later than eight weeks after the Danish Competition Appeal Tribunal has made its decision on the case.
The Virk.dk website provides you with the majority of information from public authorities (e.g. forms) you will ever need for setting up and running a business in Denmark.
The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority regularly provides information about competition-related legislation and regulations.