The Competition Council sanctioned with fines totaling RON 23.4 million (about EUR 5 million), 33 companies and 4 associations for setting the minimum price, respectively, facilitating the fixing of the minimum price on the security market, a press release informs.
During the meetings, the members of the associations agreed to set a minimum price for security services on a hourly rate. The companies claimed that the cartel was due to the fact that some operators on this market practiced a lower price even than the resulting price, considering only the statutory minimum legal expenses.
”When applying the sanctions, the Competition Council took into account the characteristics of the market where the cartel took place, a market characterized by a strong tendency towards tax evasion and illegal work, as well as the fact that steps were taken to signal to the authorities with attributions this area the possible illicit behavior of certain competing companies,” the release reads.
By agreeing to apply a certain minimum price for their services, the companies involved do not independently determine their own commercial policy on the market, fact which leads to the elimination of competition, CC explains.
”All laws must be observed, including the competition law. There are ways to achieve legitimate goals (combating evasion, the “black work”) without harming customers by violating competition law, creating a cartel or exchanging commercially sensitive information. Indicative benchmark prices can be calculated to allow the provisions of public procurement law concerning the unjustified low price. It is important that confidential data are collected by a neutral third party that will ensure that the companies do not have access to the data of their competitors, but only to aggregate data.”, declared Bogdan Chiritoiu, President of the Competition Council.
Five companies (Euroguard SRL, G4S Secure Solutions SRL, RPG Security Center S.R.L, Securitas Services Romania SRL, Aramis-Ro SRL) recognized the participation in the anticompetitive practice and benefited from reductions in fines. At the same time, one of the companies benefited from the reduction of the fine, having a difficult economic situation (inability to pay).
The investigation on the security services market was launched in 2015 and targeted the Professional Association of Security Companies and its members, and in 2016 it was extended to the Federation of Security Services and its members, namely: the Romanian Association of Security Industry, The Romanian Association for Security Technique and the Employers’ Association of Security Services, including their members.