VILNIUS REGIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE COURT UPHELD COMPETITION COUNCIL‘S DECISION ON CARTEL AMONG CINEMA OPERATORS
Vilnius Regional Administrative Court (hereinafter – Court) rejected the appeal by UAB Forum Cinemas (hereinafter – Company) against the Competition Council‘s decision whereby the Company was fined EUR 1 384 300 for concluding an anti-competitive agreement.
On 18 December 2015, the Competition Council found that the Company encouraged its competitors, namely, UAB Multikino Lietuva and UAB Cinamon Operations, to refrain from applying discounts to blockbuster movies during the first two weeks of their screenings. In addition, the evidence obtained during the investigation revealed that UAB Multikino Lietuva and UAB Cinamon Operations, owners of the cinemas in Vilnius and Kaunas, restricted discounts and fixed prices for certain movies in support of the Company‘s initiative. According to the Competition Council‘s experts, the anti-competitive agreement between the Company and UAB Multikino Lietuva lasted about 2 years, while the agreement between the Company and UAB Cinamon Operations – over 3 years. The Competition Council believes that if there had been no cartel, more special offers and discounts could have been offered to consumers.
Having analyzed the appeal, the Court upheld the Competition Council‘s decision and confirmed that the fine imposed on the Company is fair having in mind the gravity of the infringement.
UAB Multikino Lietuva and UAB Cinamon Operations confessed their involvement in a cartel and thus avoided the fines amounting to EUR 99 200 and EUR 138 800.