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Council of the Office upheld cartel of IT distributors

The Council of the Antimonopoly Office upheld the decision of the Division of Cartels by which, in June 2014, it imposed a fine in the total amount of EUR 4,28 mil. on distributors of IT technologies and complementary products for concluding a cartel agreement.

Five distributors of IT technologies and complementary products agreed on the introduction of a handling fee in the amount of EUR 1, which should have been charged on each invoice issued to customers for the supply of goods. Introduction of the fee was conditioned by its introduction by all undertakings participated in the agreement. Also the date of the introduction of the handling fee was part of the agreement and it has been determined for each operator for a different day with the aim not to raise suspicion of a cartel. First proved meeting where the initial discussions on introduction of the handling fee took place was held in February 2013 in Sri Lanka. The parties concerned started to charge the fee the following month, gradually during one week. The parties concerned have been monitoring the implementation of the agreement. Acquired evidence also proved that the undertakings were aware of the illegality of their conduct and they strived to conceal it. The Office acquired the decisive evidence on existence of this cartel agreement during the inspection in premises of the fined companies.

The agreement on prices is classified as a hard-core cartel and belongs to the most serious infringement of competition law.

One of the parties concerned did not apply the agreement in practice and did not charge the handling fee, which the Office assessed as the mitigating circumstance and lowered the fine imposed on this undertaking.

Valid fines:
ASBIS SK spol. s r.o.: EUR 2 062 857
eD´ system Slovakia, s.r.o.: EUR 1 246 621
ABC Data s.r.o.: EUR 246 240
AT Computer, s.r.o.: EUR 582 641
SWS Distribution, a.s.: EUR 142 823

Decision came into force on 13 April 2015.