Keywords: Antitrust/Competition; Merger Control; Cooperative Banks; Group of Companies.
The Italian law n. 49 of 2016 provides that the Italian local cooperative banks ("Banche di credito Cooperativo" - BCC) shall be transformed in Spa (a limited liability stock company) or shall belong to a group of cooperative banks with certain minimum capital thresholds indicated by law. With this article the Author intends to ascertain whether the creation of a group of cooperative banks, pursuant to l. 49 of 2016, could give rise to a concentration under the meaning of antitrust merger control rules. The author concluded that the creation of a concentration occurs only if the holding, on the basis of the specific bylaw provisions of the holding and of each Bcc, will have de facto the ability to influence the commercial decisions of each Bcc. The author also highlights that the antitrust analysis of a concentration among Bcc(s) pursuant to law 49 of 2016, must take into consideration the peculiarity of the Bcc; for example, the service and geographic markets affected by the concentration must be ascertained taking into consideration territorial restrictions of the Bcc activities imposed by the specific Italian Bcc laws and regulations.