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CARTELS: AMO SR imposed fines of almost EUR 9 million for a cartel in public procurement in energy sector

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AMO SR imposed almost 9 mil. fine on three cartel participants.

elektrické vedneie káble
elektrické vedneie káble
On 30 December 2021 the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic, the Division of Cartels, (hereafter “the Office“) issued a decision, by which it imposed fines in the total amount of EUR 8 635 625 on three undertakings for concluding a cartel agreement, which constitutes the infringement of provision of Article 4 Paragraph 1 in connection with the provision of Article 4 Paragraph 4 Letter a), c) and f) of the Act on Protection of Competition and the Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. 

In 2017, the Office received a complaint from Stop Corruption Foundation for the suspicion of coordination of undertakings´ procedure in a public procurement announced by the operator of electricity transmission system in the territory of the Slovak Republic.

Following the complaint, the Office initiated an investigation into the anticompetitive behaviour of undertakings, grounded in the coordination of their bidding procedure in the public procurement, the contract of which related to carrying out work in the energy sector.

The subject of public procurement was the supply of construction and assembly work, related goods and services required for the construction and commissioning of specific electrical equipment. The value of winning bid from relevant participant exceeded EUR 35 mil. (excluding VAT).

Within the framework of investigating the complaint, the Office carried out an inspection in the premises of two investigated undertakings on 28 and 29 May 2019. Based on information and documentation obtained by the Office during the investigation, on 11 March 2020 the Office, based on its own initiative, initiated an administrative proceeding against six undertakings in the matter of possible agreement restricting competition. The Office informed about the initiation of administrative proceeding in the given matter through its press release published on the website

Finally, the Office imposed a fine on only three participants to the proceeding, as in the proceeding in relation to the other three participants to the proceeding the Office did not prove that they would have violated the provisions of the Act No. 136/2001 Coll. on Protection of Competition. Given that one of the fined participants to the proceeding asked for the application of leniency programme and settled, the Office, by applying the relevant provisions of the Act on Protection of Competition, simultaneously only on the remaining two fined participants to the proceeding imposed a ban on participation in public procurement for 3 years.

The decision of the Office has not yet come into force, as the participants to the proceeding may file an appeal against this decision within a statutory time limit.