The number of large-scale mergers of business companies as defined by the Antimonopoly Law increased in fiscal 1999 over the previous 12 months, the Fair Trade Commission said Friday.

An amendment to the law states that beginning in January 1999 companies must report mergers only when a company with assets of 10 billion yen or more amalgamates with another firm with assets of 1 billion yen or more.

The amendment caused the number of reported mergers to plunge to 151 cases in fiscal 1999 from the preceding fiscal year’s 1,514 cases, the nation’s cartel-buster said.

The tally of large-scale mergers of companies whose resultant combined assets eclipsed 100 billion yen in the January-March quarter of 2000 increased from nine to 12 in the corresponding quarter of 1999, the FTC said.

The new definition of large-scale mergers was applied to both quarters, making it easier for observers to make an accurate comparison.