Federal Cartel Office

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- BKartA -

State level Federation
position Higher federal authority
Supervisory authority Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
founding January 1, 1958
Headquarters Bonn , North Rhine-Westphalia
Authority management Andreas Mundt
Servants 402 plus 5 trainees
Web presence bundeskartellamt.de

The Federal Cartel Office ( BKartA ) enforces German and European competition law in Germany. It can prohibit dubious mergers of companies, prohibit abusive behavior, impose conditions and impose fines. The competition authority has extensive investigative powers for this.

Around 400 employees carry out their tasks in cooperation with the regional antitrust authorities and the Directorate-General for Competition at the European Commission. In 2017, almost half of them were lawyers or economists.

In 2018, the budget was 30.4 million euros . The independent BKartA is assigned to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy . Traditionally, officials from the ministry are appointed to the head of the office. The incumbent president since December 2009 is Andreas Mundt .

Legal basis and area of ​​responsibility

50 years of the Bundeskartellamt: postage stamp from 2008

The Federal Cartel Office's activities are based on the Act against Restraints of Competition (GWB). In addition to federal law, the authority also applies the competition law of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Articles 101 and 102 TFEU - formerly Articles 81 and 82 ECT).

The main tasks of the Bundeskartellamt are to enforce the ban on cartels , to carry out merger controls and to monitor abuse of dominant companies. In particular, the Bundeskartellamt can prohibit mergers of companies, prohibit abusive behavior, impose conditions and impose fines. The authority has extensive investigative powers for this purpose.

The Bundeskartellamt has been responsible for examining cartels and monitoring abuse since the GWB came into force in 1958, provided that the restrictive effect of competition extends beyond a single federal state. The state cartel authorities are responsible for matters that do not go beyond the territory of a federal state (Section 48 (2) GWB). In matters that have cross-border effects, the Federal Cartel Office and the European Commission have competing jurisdiction.

In 1973 merger control, which today makes up the majority of the practical work of the Federal Cartel Office, was introduced. The European Commission is responsible for merger control above certain turnover thresholds. The Federal Cartel Office examines over 1000 mergers every year. Less than a handful of these are banned or released with ancillary provisions each year. Companies also have the option of withdrawing notified merger projects in order to prevent a prohibition decision.

Since 1999, a significant part of the procurement law has been integrated into the GWB and passed into the area of ​​responsibility of the Federal Cartel Office. At the beginning of 2013, the market transparency office for fuels was located at the Federal Cartel Office. With the 9th amendment to the GWB, which came into force at the beginning of June 2017, the Federal Cartel Office was given the authority to carry out sector investigations in the area of ​​consumer law (Section 32e (5) GWB).

The activity report of the Federal Cartel Office reports in detail every two years on the work of the office.

organization structure

The decisions of the Bundeskartellamt are generally made by one of the twelve decision- making departments, whereby decision-making departments 10, 11 and 12 are responsible for prosecuting hardcore cartels (core cartels) and have no branch-specific assignment. In addition, the office has two public procurement tribunals and a decision-making department for consumer protection. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and the President of the Office have no authority to issue instructions to the decision-making departments. The independence of the decision-making departments and the independence of employees are key features of the Federal Cartel Office. Above all, the applicant (if any), the persons and companies against whom the decision is directed, as well as third parties affected who have been invited to the proceedings, can seek legal remedies against rulings by the Federal Cartel Office. In this case must first be a complaint with the Higher Regional Court of Dusseldorf be submitted subsequently one can appeal the Federal Court carried out. If the Federal Cartel Office has prohibited a merger, a ministerial permit can also be applied for from the Federal Minister of Economics .

The Bundeskartellamt has set up units or special commissions for special tasks, such as the units on European antitrust law or general questions of principle or the special commission on the fight against cartels.

Known cases and decisions (selection)

Cartels uncovered and sanctioned by the Federal Cartel Office

Main article: List of the highest penalties for antitrust violations in the EU

  • Cement cartel in Germany, uncovered in 2004, imposed a total of 330 million euros in fines.
  • Coffee cartel , illegal price agreements between Tchibo , Melitta and Dallmayr from 2000 to 2009. The Federal Cartel Office issued fines totaling 159.5 million euros.
  • In the paper cartel for decor paper (August 2005 to the end of 2007) the Federal Cartel Office imposed fines totaling 62 million euros on the manufacturers Felix Schoeller Holding , Munksjö Paper and Arjo Wiggins .
  • Fire engine cartel : Cartel on the German market for fire engines, disclosed by the Federal Cartel Office in February 2011, fines totaling 68 million euros.
  • Chocolate cartel in Germany, uncovered in 2013, imposed a total of 60 million euros in fines
  • Beer cartel : Price fixing by six German breweries in 2006 and 2008. In January 2014 the Federal Cartel Office imposed fines totaling 106.5 million euros on the Bitburger , Krombacher , Veltins , Warsteiner and private brewery Ernst Barre . As a key witness, Beck’s (Anheuser-Busch InBev) remains unpunished. The investigations against six other breweries, also on suspicion of price fixing, are ongoing.

Business combinations prohibited by the Federal Cartel Office

  • A planned merger of the cleaning agent manufacturer Luhns GmbH with the Düsseldorf company Henkel KGaA was prohibited by the Federal Cartel Office in 1999.
  • A takeover of trans-o-flex by Deutsche Post AG (since 1997 with a 24.8% stake) failed in 1999 due to competition law objections from the European Commission after Deutsche Post wanted to increase its stake to over 75%. In 2000, Deutsche Post was able to completely take over the six foreign subsidiaries of trans-o-flex in Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Denmark, a second takeover attempt by trans-o-flex Germany in cooperation with BayernFinanz (investor since 2000 , in the 1st quarter of 2005 75.2% stake) was prohibited by the Federal Cartel Office and this decision was confirmed by the Federal Court of Justice at the end of 2004 .
  • In 2001, Sanacorp Pharmahandel tried to take over competitor Andreae-Noris Zahn AG (ANZAG), but failed due to resistance from the Federal Cartel Office. The legal dispute was ended by a ruling by the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court in October 2006. The merger control proceedings were one of the longest in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • In November 2001 E.ON AG notified the Federal Cartel Office that it was taking over a majority of Ruhrgas AG, based in Essen . Following the rejection of the merger by the Cartel Office and the subsequent granting of a ministerial permit, a legal conflict developed with competitors over the completion of the takeover, which lasted until March 2003. E.ON AG then became the sole owner of Ruhrgas AG, the largest German gas supply group with a market share of around 60 percent.
  • In the German cable network operator market , the Federal Cartel Office prohibited the sale of the remaining six regional companies to Liberty Media in February 2002 , whereupon a group of investors made up of Apax Partners , Providence Equity Partners and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners acquired the six companies and bundled them in the Kabel Deutschland Group. According to Kabel Deutschland, the goal is to operate a nationwide network as far as possible. However, the Federal Cartel Office prevented the acquisition of competitors on network level 3 and thus a nationwide offer by Kabel Deutschland in this segment. The takeover bans were issued on October 7, 2004 for ish NRW (service provider for North Rhine-Westphalia ), iesy Hessen (service provider for Hesse ) and Kabel BW (service provider for Baden-Württemberg ).


Since it was founded in 1958, the Bundeskartellamt has had six presidents:

  1. Eberhard Günther (1958–1976),
  2. Wolfgang Kartte (1976–1992),
  3. Dieter Wolf (1992–1999),
  4. Ulf Böge (1999-2007),
  5. Bernhard Heitzer (2007-2009),
  6. Andreas Mundt , acting president since 2009


After more than 40 years in Berlin , the authority relocated its headquarters to Bonn on October 1, 1999 as part of the Berlin / Bonn Act .

There she moved into the former building of the Federal President's Office on Kaiser-Friedrich-Strasse, in the northern center of the federal district . The property is divided into houses I-IV and built the 1960/1961 and 1962 by the Federal Minister for Special Tasks used house Ax at Adenauer Allee ( B 9 ). While House I was built in 1950 as an office building (originally 40 offices) and probably the first new federal administration building in Bonn for the Federal President's Office (on the partially preserved walls of the demolished stable and coach house building of Villa Hammerschmidt ), the other houses are older and not originated as federal property. These include the double villa Balg (house II) from 1898, house III built in 1933 and the villa Frau Ernst Prieger (house IV) from 1900. The federal procurement chambers at the Federal Cartel Office have been outside the property on the premises of the Federal Cartel Office since 2010 Federal Ministry of Economics in the Bonn district of Duisdorf .


Web links

Commons : Bundeskartellamt  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Federal Budget 2020 - Section 12 - Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Federal Ministry of Finance, accessed on August 27, 2020 (overview of positions: pages 203–205; trainees: page 190).
  2. Bundeskartellamt - Homepage - Annual Report 2017. Accessed on May 21, 2019 .
  3. New head of the Cartel Office: Steep rise in the name of the Thomas Sigmund competition in handelsblatt.com on December 10, 2009, accessed on October 17, 2010
  4. ^ Organization chart of the Federal Cartel Office
  5. Bundeskartellamt - decision database. Retrieved May 21, 2019 .
  6. Coffee giants have to pay a multi-million cartel fine. Illegal price fixing. SPIEGEL-Online, December 21, 2009. Accessed December 21, 2009.
  7. tagesspiegel.de, agreements - million dollar fine for paper cartel, accessed on August 7, 2012.
  8. Sueddeutsche.de : Fines for confectionery manufacturers
  9. Zeit.de: German breweries have to pay a fine of millions
  10. Bundeskartellamt prohibits the Henkel / Luhn merger. ( Memento of March 31, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Press release of the Federal Cartel Office of September 21, 1999.
  11. Harsh criticism of the ministerial permit (July 4, 2002) , E.ON.com: E.ON receives ministerial permit for Ruhrgas ( Memento from December 4, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  12. enbw.com August 6, 2002: EnBW files a complaint against ministerial approval for the E.ON / Ruhrgas merger ( memento of January 22, 2013 in the web archive archive.today )
  13. Bundeskartellamt: Bundeskartellamt intends to prohibit the takeover of ish, KBW and iesy by KDG ( memento of August 13, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on July 13, 2012.
  14. ^ Entry on administrative building, Adenauerallee 133 / corner Kaiser-Friedrich-Straße 2–6 (temporarily Federal Ministry for special tasks, temporary joint use by the Foreign Office) in the database " KuLaDig " of the Rhineland Regional Association , accessed on July 14, 2017.
  15. ^ City of Bonn, City Archives (ed.); Helmut Vogt: "The Minister lives in a company car on platform 4". The beginnings of the federal government in Bonn 1949/50 , Bonn 1999, ISBN 3-922832-21-0 , p. 160.
  16. Olga Sonntag : Villas on the banks of the Rhine in Bonn: 1819–1914 , Bouvier Verlag, Bonn 1998, ISBN 3-416-02618-7 , Volume 3, Catalog (2), pp. 94–96, 261–264. (also dissertation University of Bonn, 1994)
  17. Information brochure Das Bundeskartellamt in Bonn - organization, tasks and activities , Bundeskartellamt, p. 47

Coordinates: 50 ° 43 ′ 21 ″  N , 7 ° 6 ′ 59.9 ″  E