Monday, 09 August 2021

Press Release - Settlement Procedure: HCC Decision 742/2021 on ex-officio investigation in the market of supplyand leasing of chemical toilets

Subject: HCC Decision 742/2021 on the ex-officio investigation in the market of supply, and leasing of chemical toilets, in relation to infringements of article 1 of Greek Competition Act 3959/2011 and article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)

The Plenary of the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) decided, during the simplified settlement procedure, according to the provisions of Article25a of the Greek Competition Actand HCC Decision 704/2020 on the procedure, to approve the official settlement proposals submitted by the following companies i) ΤΟΙΤΟΙ (HELLAS) SA , ii) EUROPRICE ENVIROMENTAL LTD, iii) A.F. DRAGONAS M. LTD (GLAROS), iv) ALBA TEXTILE AGENCY LTDand v) NEILOS RECYCLING - SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT - ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SYSTEMS S.A..

Therefore the HCCimposedreducedfinesfor infringements of article 1 of l. 3959/2011, in the total amountof €199.491 to the various undertakings involved, that is,the amountof 60.078,0euro to ΤΟΙΤΟΙ (HELLAS) SA, in the amount of 52.942,0 ευρώto EUROPRICE ENVIROMENTAL LTD, in the amount of 13.259,0 euro to A.F. DRAGONAS M. LTD (GLAROS), in the amountof 72.954,0euro to ALBA TEXTILE AGENCY LTD, in the amount of 258,0 euroto NEILOS RECYCLING - SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT - ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SYSTEMS S.A..

The decision was issued in the above simplified settlement procedure, following a relevant expression of interest from the parties for their inclusion in the procedureand acknowledgment by the parties of their liability.

Based on the investigation and what was accepted by the undertakings involved, during the settlement process, it emerged that the above undertakings, in pairs, entered into horizontal agreements aimed to collude and allocate markets before submitting bids to tenders for installation, removal and cleaning of chemical toilets for public organizations and private bodies.

Regarding the duration of the above collusive behavior in pairs, this bore the characteristics of a single and continuous infringement as the individual agreements/concerted practices adopted in years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, presented time continuity and common features, i.e. characterized by identity of objectives, methods and stakeholders.

According to the reasoning of the decision, these practices were identified as agreements between the undertakings involved regarding bid rigging, which seek to restrict competition by object. In the case xamined, Article 101 TFEU did not apply as there was no evidence of an impact on intra-EU trade.

It should be noted that this is the third case where all the companies involved in the infringement came forward for a settlement procedure at a pre-Statement of Objection stage, which increases the procedural efficiency of HCC.

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