SUPREME ADMINISTRATIVE COURT OF LITHUANIA UPHELD COMPETITION COUNCIL‘S DECISON ON 10-YEAR-LONG ANTI-COMPETITIVE AGREEMENT BETWEEN MAXIMA LT AND UAB MANTINGA
The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania (hereinafter – Court) rejected the appeals by MAXIMA LT, UAB (hereinafter – MAXIMA LT) and UAB Mantinga and upheld the Competition Council‘s decision, according to which, the aforementioned companies concluded an anti-competitive agreement.
The Court confirmed that the evidence obtained by the Competition Council shows that MAXIMA LT and UAB Mantinga agreed to refrain from selling bread and other bakery products produced by UAB Mantinga in MAXIMA LT shops below the base price. In addition, the Court noted that these companies had been coordinating their actions for 10 years and sought to maintain retail prices (or the so called “shelf“ prices) in MAXIMA LT shops. The Court upheld the ruling of the court of first instance which stated that, as a result of the anti-competitive agreement and unfair competition, consumers had to pay higher prices. The Court fined MAXIMA LT EUR 13 666 216 and UAB Mantinga – EUR 2 151 417.
We are very happy with the Court‘s decision. It took four years of hard work to collect a sufficient amount of evidence proving that the companies entered into a 10-year-long anti-competitive agreement; the evidence, for instance, e-mails whereby companies agreed to “maintain the increased prices“, “stop the discounts“, “increase the shelf prices“, clearly prove the infringement. We do hope that this case will deter other companies from breaching competition rules and then hoping that the infringements will not be identified.
–Šarūnas Keserauskas, Chairman of the Competition Council
On 4 December 2014 the Competition Council found that MAXIMA LT and UAB Mantinga entered into a 10-year long anti-competitive agreement. Part 1 of Article 5 of the Law on Competition and Part 1 of Article 101 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union prohibit agreements between companies which restrict or may restrict or distort competition.
In 2015 courts upheld about 90% of the Competition Council‘s decisions.
On 18 May 2015 Vilnius Regional Administrative Court upheld the Competition Council‘s decision, according to which, MAXIMA LT and UAB Mantinga concluded an anti-competitive agreement.