The Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic suspects the companies providing meal and benefit vouchers of cartel

26.02.2015
On February 16, 2015 the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic, Division of Cartels, ex officio initiated the administrative proceedings in the matter of possible agreements restricting competition concluded between five undertakings acting in the market of meal vouchers and other benefit vouchers.

Based on evidence gathered the Office entered into a reasonable suspicion that five undertakings acting in the market of meal vouchers and other benefit vouchers concluded agreements restricting competition aimed at:
  • limitation of number of meal vouchers admitted by the retail chains, 
  • fixing prices of goods and services and other terms and conditions namely by offering fixed prices of goods and services in public procurements and in other similar tenders,
  • market allocation through allocation of customers, namely by enforcement of different prices and other terms and conditions for their clients and for the competitors´ clients,
  • full unification of commission,
  • coordination of bidding behaviour in public procurements, tenders or in other similar tenders. 
 At the same time the mentioned undertakings exchanged their sensitive information referring to other terms and conditions of goods and services and information on their customers. Besides, the mentioned undertakings monitored the compliance with the possible agreements and in case of non-compliance they enforced measures against the infringers. Mentioned undertakings communicated in electronic form and through the personal meetings, namely on the grounds of association of legal persons which they were members of. Undertakings coordinated their procedure in tenders mainly in terms of their participation or non-participation in tender, fixing prices of goods and services and exchange of sensitive information.
 
Since this agreement represents horizontal agreement between direct competitors, which is considered as the most serious infringement of competition rules, it means hard-core cartel, cartel participants may be fined up to 10 % of their turnover for the preceding closed accounting period.

The Office also states that a cartel participant has an option to fully avoid a fine if he was the first to provide, on its own initiative, decisive evidence to prove a violation of the prohibited agreement or was the first to provide, on its own initiative, information and evidence being decisive to perform an inspection or he may reach its reducing up to 50%. Detailed conditions of non-imposing or reducing a fine are summarized in the document “Leniency program” (Program zhovievavosti (tzv. leniency program).

The fact that the Office initiated the administrative proceedings does not imply that the entity concerned has infringed the competition rules, nor does it prejudge the conclusions which the Office may reach in its decision.
Last update:26.02.2015