COURTS UPHELD COMPETITION COUNCIL‘S CARTEL DECISION

06 03 2015

On 6 March, the Supreme Administrative Court confirmed that Lithuanian Shipbrokers and Agents Association (the Association) and 32 Association members concluded anti-competitive agreement.

On 8 December 2011, the Council found that the Association and 32 shipping companies set minimum tariffs for agency services and, thus, breached Article 5 of the Law on Competition and Article 101 TFEU. The cartel agreement had been in effect for more than a decade. Having set the prices, the cartel participants announced them in leaflets and on the Association’s website. Moreover, the Association’s Code of Ethics introduced sanctions for the application of notably lower than the recommended tariffs.

On 7 April 2014, the Supreme Administrative Court upheld the Council’s decision and noted that free competition on prices is one of the major forms of fair competition, whilst price fixing impedes the development of results achieved through competitive processes.

30 out of 32 contractors appealed against the Council’s decision to the Supreme Administrative Court but the latter held that all 30 participated in the cartel. Even though the fines imposed on some of the contractors were reduced, the Court upheld strict Council’s position regarding the illegitimacy of the agreement.

Competition Council Spokesperson