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Estonian court doesn’t halt merger of Eesti Energia, Nelja Energia

Estonian news - eteap December 10, 2018

Baltic News Service. 10th of December, 2018

The Tallinn Administrative Court on a Monday did not satisfy a request of the company Skinest Energia to bar a merger of Enefit Green, renewable energy subsidiary of the state-owned energy group Eesti Energia, and Nelja Energia by means of an interim order.

Simultaneously, the Administrative Court annulled its earlier ruling establishing a temporary interim order until Monday. The ruling adopted on Monday can be contested within 15 days.

Skinest Energia, a company of Estonian businessman Oleg Ossinovski, had sought that the court suspend the validity of a decision made by the Competition Authority in November and thereby to bar the consolidation from taking effect, the Tallinn Administrative Court said.

According to the court, the outcome that AS Skinest Energia seeks to achieve by means of the interim order has already arrived, since Enefit Green completed the consolidation already on Nov. 6, before Skinest Energia filed the complaint.

Skinest Energia a few days after the decision of the Competition Authority to allow the merger submitted a complaint to the Tallinn Administrative Court for the annulment of the Competition Authority’s decision and identification that the merger of Enefit Green and Nelja Energia is prohibited. Along with the complaint, the company also submitted an application for an interior order, asking to immediately suspend the validity of the decision of the Competition Authority retrospectively and prohibit the entry into force of the merger of Enefit Green and Nelja Energia until the court verdict concluding the procedure of the court case in question enters into force.

The Competition Authority at the beginning of November gave the state-held energy group Eesti Energia go-ahead to complete the acquisition of the producer of renewable energy Nelja Energia. The competition authority of Latvia endorsed the deal on July 11, while the Lithuanian competition watchdog approved it in August.

The Estonian Competition Authority said that the consolidation does not entail any factors listed in the Competition Act that would necessitate forbidding the consolidation and that the consolidation has no negative impact on public interest. The same was upheld by the court on Monday.

The court said that, in addition, it is not possible at present when the consolidation has been completed to restore the pre-consolidation state of affairs.

“Considering that the consolidation as it stands now has to be deemed legitimate and the plaintiff has not set forth arguments to the effect that the consolidation has an immediate irreversible impact on its rights, the interests of the plaintiff do not outweigh the interests of third persons,” the court found.

Monday’s ruling only concerns the satisfaction of interim relief. The court gave the parties to the proceeding the possibility to come up by Jan. 7, 2019 with their positions on solving the issue of opening a procedure on the complaint itself.

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