In certain areas (anti-corruption measures, anti-money laundering, etc.), the implementation of compliance processes is a legal obligation. This is not the case in competition matters, but it is strongly recommended in view of the high stakes in the event of infringements.
In some areas, a company may be fined if it does not comply with its obligations to implement compliance programmes. This is particularly the case in the fight against money laundering and corruption.
The law does not require the implementation of competition compliance programmes. However, companies must be aware that while increasing their knowledge of competition law and implementing a risk prevention strategy represent a short-term cost, these approaches also avoid committing infringements, the economic cost of which may ultimately be much higher.
Considerable financial stakes
If a company is guilty of cartel or abuse of a dominant position, it risks being fined hundreds of millions of euros, or even billions, as the penalty can be up to 10% of the group's global turnover. The movement at national and European level towards more greater and dissuasive sanctions should encourage companies to put in place measures to minimise the occurrence of an infraction.
Consult the following section to learn more about the different infringements.
Infringements of competition law may also concern takeovers and mergers, as if a company forgets to notify a takeover or does not comply with merger control rules, it may be subject to a penalty for early implementation (or gun-jumping) and may even have its acquisition called into question.
See the section on merger control for more information.
"In financial terms, compliance with competition law is a major issue for companies."
A significant risk of tarnishing your reputation
The risk is also reputational. Compliance makes it possible to protect companies' reputation among their customers, employees, suppliers, etc.