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The Antimonopoly Office confirms the inspections at the premises of undertakings providing water, gallons and water dispensers

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The Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic, Division of Cartels confirms that on 24 February 2015 it conducted unannounced inspection in the business premises of companies acting in the area of providing water, gallons and water dispensers including relating services.

Inspection was provided on the basis of reasonable suspicion according to which two undertakings might have concluded an agreement restricting competition which object or effect was to:
·        directly or indirectly increase the price of goods and services,
·        share the market, mainly through customer allocation,
·        coordinate the behaviour or procedure in public procurement or tenders and
·        exchange sensitive information, mainly on prices and customers.
Undertakings participating in the horizontal agreements between direct competitors, so-called hard-core cartels face a fine of up to 10% of their turnover for the preceding closed accounting period.

If it is proved that the tenderer participated in collusion in public procurement, it cannot participate in public procurements during three years following the final decision proving the existence of agreement restricting competition. This prohibition does not apply to one who fulfilled the conditions for immunity from fine or its reduction according to leniency programme.

The Office also states that the competition law provides for using the instrument of so called leniency programme, according to which a cartel participant may avoid a fine (if it is first to provide the Office with the decisive evidence on existence of such agreement in time when the Office does not have any evidence on cartel agreement or submits information and evidence decisive for inspection) or the fine may be reduced by up to 50%. Detailed conditions of immunity from fine or its reduction are summarized in document Program zhovievavosti (tzv. leniency program).

The fact that the Office conducted an inspection does not imply that the entities concerned have infringed the competition rules, nor does it prejudge the conclusions of the investigation. The Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic does not provide further information at this stage of investigation.