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Council of the Office confirmed the decision on cartels of the undertakings in the market of construction and reconstruction works

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On 9 June 2016 the Council of the Office confirmed the decision of the Division of Cartels of 25 May 2016, by which it imposed fine on three undertakings for concluding an agreement aimed at restricting competition in the market of construction and reconstruction works including devices supply in the territory of the Slovak Republic. 

The first-instance body considered as proved on the basis of evidence acquired by analysis that the undertakings VUMAT SK, s.r.o., B.C.D., spol s r.o. and TERCIA, spol. s r.o. coordinated their conduct through the exchange of information and with the purpose to coordinate bids and their participation relating to public tender so that the ranking of participants and winner were known in advance, subsequently by submitting coordinated bids they also realised their purpose in practice. The object of the contract was “Reconstruction of guest-house ENERGETIK” and the assumed contract price was EUR 1 005 962,53 exclusive of VAT. The undertakings concluded an agreement restricting competition while submitting bids in the process of public tender through direct or indirect fixing prices of goods, market allocation and collusive behaviour, by which they coordinated their behaviour consciously.

The conclusions of agreement restricting competition were based on:
  • the participants' knowledge of submitted bids thereby in the hidden columns of unsuccessful participants' bids were the bids of participants placed before them,
  • nonstandard conformity of participants' bids.
The AMO SR imposed the fine on undertakings for such behaviour in a sum equal to 5% of the relevant turnover as follows:
  • VUMAT SK, s.r.o.:  165 341€,
  • B.C.D., spol. s r.o.: 28 176 €,
  • TERCIA, spol. s r.o.: 63 562 €.
All the participants of proceedings appealed against this first-instance decision.
On the basis of appeals against the first-instance proceedings the Council of the Office examined the first-instance decision and came to conviction that the first-instance body proceeded and decided properly and together with evidence completed by the Council of the Office leads to a conclusion that the participants of the proceedings concluded cartel agreement and the purpose of their coordination was the objected contract has been acquired by the undertaking determined in advance and for agreed price. They also realized this agreement in practice.
The agreements on fixing prices, restricting sale, market allocation and collusive behaviour in public tender, for instance in the process of public procurement, public tender or other similar tender are ranked as cartels, which as a special form of horizontal agreements are the most serious infringements of competition rules.
Decision came into force on 13 June 2016.