Kazakhstan Loosens Domestic Antimonopoly Laws

ASTANA – Amendments to liberalise the Kazakh antimonopoly regulation were signed into law May 5 by President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Known as “On Introduction of Amendments and Additions to Certain Legislative Acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Natural Monopolies and Regulated Markets” No. 312-V, the law came into force on May 18 with some exceptions.
Antimonopoly approval is now required for acquisition of more than 50 percent of the shares in a joint stock company or participatory interests in a limited liability partnership. Before the amendments were enacted, approval was required for acquisition of more than 25 percent.

The establishment of a legal entity no longer requires antimonopoly approval executed by the Committee for Regulation of Natural Monopolies and Protection of Competition of the Ministry of National Economy.

In addition, approval of the antimonopoly committee is no longer required for transactions evaluated as economic concentration if the transactions are specifically named in Kazakh laws, decrees of the President and/or resolutions of the government.

The period for reviewing an application for antimonopoly approval is now 30 calendar days, rather than 50, and the committee has only five business days to specify a period for provision of additional information and/or documents.

With the enforcement of the amendments, the antimonopoly committee is entitled to issue written warnings which will advise specific market players to refrain from actions that may lead to antimonopoly violation. Such warnings may be issued when the antimonopoly committee does not have sufficient grounds to initiate a formal investigation, but the public statement of the market player, state authority or local executive authority implies that the market player’s intended conduct may lead to a violation of the regulations.

The antimonopoly committee must apply to law enforcement authorities for assistance with the investigation it conducts against a market player. The committee has the right to forward the investigation materials to the authorities to decide whether or not it has sufficient grounds to initiate a criminal investigation.

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