Antitrust Watchdog Detects Conscious Parallelism Rather than Cartel in Fuel Market

Business » INDUSTRY | March 31, 2017, Friday // 14:28
Bulgaria: Antitrust Watchdog Detects Conscious Parallelism Rather than Cartel in Fuel Market File photo: EPA/BGNES

"There is conscious parallelism rather than a cartel in fuel trade," Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC) Yulia Nenkova told journalists on Friday, according to BTA.

In October 2016, the CPC launched a check into the operation of six fuel retail chains on suspicion of a price cartel. "All parties concerned were given a hearing at an open CPC meeting and the allegation of a fuel cartel was not proven," Nenkova said. Her Commission found that the companies exchanged information and did not form a cartel.

The CPC ordered Lukoil Bulgaria EOOD, Eko Bulgaria EAD, Shell Bulgaria EAD, OMV Bulgaria OOD, NIS Petrol EOOD and Petrol AD to take measures to restrict business information by means of internal procedures. The CPC wants the six companies to prohibit contacts and information exchange with competitor companies and their employees; to prohibit contacts between the employees of own and competitor filling stations; and to prohibit the discussion, obtaining or providing of business information within the Bulgarian Petroleum and Gas Association. The CPC wants the employees who do not comply with the requirement to respect the confidentiality of business information to be dismissed for breach of discipline.

The Commission did not specify how they will enforce compliance with these requirements.

Acting on an alert from the prosecuting magistracy, the CPC is investigating Vesselin Mareshki's VM Petroleum company, which is selling fuels some 0.30 leva/litre cheaper than its competitors, for price dumping.

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Tags: fuels, Veselin Mareshki, Lukoil, Eko Bulgaria, Shell Bulgaria, OMV Bulgaria, Commission on Protection of Competition
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