LITHUANIAN COMPETITION COUNCIL DETECTED TWO CARTELS BY CINEMA OPERATORS
On December 18 Lithuanian Competition Council (KT) announced that three cinema operators, “Forum Cinemas“, “Multikino Lietuva“ and “Cinamon Operations“, had been fixing prices of cinema tickets as part of two separate cartel agreements.
In the course of investigation KT found that all the above mentioned companies agreed to refrain from applying discounts to blockbuster movies during the first two weeks of screenings. Competing cinema operators in Vilnius and Kaunas, the two largest cities in Lithuania, also were found to have been fixing prices of movie tickets, size of discounts and other customers’ rewards.
The investigation was started after “Multikino Lietuva“ and “Cinamon Operations“ filed leniency applications. However, “Forum Cinemas” kept denying participation in the cartels despite evidence proving that the company had been insisting and pressing other operators to “keep to the established practices”. Both “Multikino Lietuva“ and “Cinamon Operations“ complied with the requirements of “Forum Cinemas”, the biggest cinema operator and film distributor in Lithuania, and most often refused to launch customer reward programmes or revoked those that have already been planned, including weekend or family discounts.
KT found that anticompetitive agreement between “Forum Cinemas“ and “Multikino Lietuva“ in Vilnius lasted for nearly two years and the one between ”Forum Cinemas“ and “Cinamon Operations“ in Kaunas – for more than three years. KT imposed upon “Forum Cinemas”a fine totalling to EUR 1,384,300 for cartels.
For filling leniency applications “Multikino Lietuva“ and “Cinamon Operations“ were exempted from EUR 99,200 and EUR 138,800 fines respectively.