Four Foreign Retailers Face Cartel Probe in Bulgaria
Bulgaria's Commission for Protection of Competition (KZK) has launched a probe into a suspected cartel agreement between four foreign retail chains operating in the country.
KZK is suspecting that Kaufland Bulgaria, Billa Bulgaria, Lidl Bulgaria and Metro Cash and Carry Bulgaria have entered into unlawful agreement, which harms the market and provides favourable conditions for the products sold under the brands of the retail chains.
Last week, KZK conducted sudden inspections at the premises of Kaufland and Billa as part of the investigation into the suspected cartel agreement.
During the inspection, KZK has the right to seize all kind of written and other material evidence as well as means for the dissemination of data.
KZK notes that the market shares of these chains have been increasing since 2013 and in particular there has been considerable rise in the market share of the products sold under their own brands.
The watchdog will try to prove that there is agreement between the four chains which harms the interests of producers.
By offering their own brands, the chains compete with their suppliers and have the power to determine the price not only of their own, but also of other brands sold in their stores.
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