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Competition Council: EUR 3.7m fine for companies forming cartel on the fuel market

Three companies that trade wholesale fuels were caught by the Competition Council that they have agreed upon prices, infringing the competition law. They admitted their offense and were fined nearly EUR 4 million. It is the second penalty of the fuel market, after the one billed four years ago. Then, the fine was much larger – EUR 200 million, digi24.ro informs.
The three companies are Tinmar, Planoil and Planoil Industries, all three headquartered in Bucharest.
The president of the Competition Council, Bogdan Chiritoiu, said: “We have completed our investigation on the fuel market. The fines reach about EUR 4 million, adding to the EUR 200 million that had been given before. The offences were admitted, so we do not expect to go to court, unlike other sanctions so far. They shared their customers and determined the price at which they sell to different clients, hence, that is called a cartel.”

2015 – Most investigations finalized

Last year was the year with the most investigations finalized by the Competition Council, i.e. 21, and the second in terms of the amount of fines, of EUR 53 million, said Bogdan Chiritoiu.

“The largest case with the largest fine was the one involving Hidroelectrica and its clients with long-term contracts,” added the Competition Council President.

CC has finalized 21 investigations in 2015 against 17 in 2014, while 13 investigations have been started, four times more than in the previous year. The investigations target, among others, the fields of electric power distribution, movies distribution to cinemas, the insurance market.

CC has given fines amounting to RON 240 million (about EUR 53 million), by 12% more than in 2014.

Regarding litigations, the CC has been standing in 198 files, down by 5% as compared to 2014. The percentage of favourable irrevocable judgments increased to 100, while the percentage of favourable final judgments dropped to 90.

Oltchim, Energy complex Hunedoara – on the agenda of talks with the EC

According to Bogdan Chiritoiu, the Competition Council is trying to convince the European Commission that Oltchim has made progress in order to meet the criteria for being sold, while for Energy complex Hunedoara it is negotiating a restructuring plan to cut down operations.

“The Energy complex Hunedoara received an emergency aid. In exchange for this emergency aid the government has to notify the EC with a restructuring plan. We have ongoing talks to reduce the size of the complex, but will be functional, it will be able to stand on its own feet. It has called for insolvency for several months now, as in Oltchim’s case, we are concomitantly carrying out the national procedures of insolvency law with the EC investigations,” Chiritoiu said. He added the restructuring plan is designed by ISPE.

Regarding Oltchim, he said progress has been made. “We hope to convince this year the European Commission that enough progress has been made and the company is viable, that we can sell it to a private operator,” Bogdan Chiritoiu said.

About CFR Marfa, the Competition Council President also says progress has been made; the company is restructured, however is operating on losses. Two years ago its debts were cancelled in view of privatization, but the privatization process failed. “We’ll have to find a solution according to European legal framework,” he added.

 

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