Antitrust – Singapore jurisdictional summary
The antitrust regime in Singapore was enacted to provide a generic competition law to protect consumers and businesses from business practices which undermine competition.
What is the governing legislation?
The primary source of competition law is the Competition Act (Chapter 50B) (the “Act”) and its related subsidiary legislation.
Which is the enforcement agency?
The Competition Commission of Singapore is the principle enforcement agency responsible for enforcing the Act.
What type of anti-competitive conduct is prohibited?
Three main activities are prohibited under the Act.
The first is the entering into of anti-competitive agreements. These are agreements, decisions and practices which prevent, restrict or distort competition within Singapore, unless they are excluded or exempted (“the Section 34 prohibition”). Examples include:-
- Cartel agreements in relation to price fixing, bid rigging, market sharing and production control
- Price guidelines or recommendations agreement between competitors
- Joint purchasing or selling
- Setting technical or design standards
- Agreements to share business information.
The second is an abuse of dominant position in any market in Singapore (“the Section 47 prohibition”). There is a two step test to assess whether the Section 47 prohibition applies: (i) whether the undertaking is dominant in a relevant market, either in Singapore or elsewhere; and (ii) if it is, whether it is abusing that dominant position in a market in Singapore.
The third type of activity is mergers and acquisitions that substantially lessen competition, unless they are excluded or exempted (the “Section 54 position”). A merger will be assessed to determine whether it is anti-competitive. Factors which the commission will consider include whether the merger will result in an increase of prices above the prevailing level, lower quality, and/or less choices for consumers. The Competition Commission of Singapore has a voluntary notification regime for mergers
What are the sanctions?
Section 69(4) of the Act prescribes a maximum penalty of 10% of the turnover of the business of the undertaking in Singapore for each year of infringement, up to a maximum of 3 years. The actual penalty amount is in the discretion of the Competition Commission of Singapore.
Where the infringement involves a trade association, financial penalties may be imposed on the association itself, its members, or both. In the case of a takeover, financial penalties may be imposed on the company that takes over the infringing party.
In addition, the Commission may issue directions prohibiting or requiring parties concerned to modify, terminate or cease the infringing conduction, agreement or merger/ anticipated merger.