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29.03.2017 16:01
Bulgarian Competition Watchdog Terminates Collusion Investigation of Fuel Market
Even though the CPC said the Bulgarian fuel market was susceptible to coordination by market participants, it decided to put an end to investigations, imposing a ban on communication and insider trading on six retail brands, including during meetings of the Bulgarian Oil and Gas Association
AUTHOR: publics.bg


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Bulgaria’s Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) said in a press release that it is terminating an appeal against Lukoil Bulgaria, Eko Bulgaria, Shell Bulgaria, OMV Bulgaria, NIS Petrol and Petrol on allegations of collusion on the local diesel and petrol market.

The commission also dropped its investigation against Rompetrol Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Oil and Gas Association.

Just in October 2016 the CPC said it had irrefutable proof of a fuel cartel controlling retail prices at filling stations of the said brands in Bulgaria. In a report published online, the CPC said it observed coordinated changes in retail fuel prices which reflected swiftly and amply rises in wholesale costs, while retailers failed to respond swiftly and adequately to downward trends. Similar circumstances have been observed in countries such as Germany and Spain, among other, and were deemed illustrative of anti-competition practices, the CPC said in its report.

The commission also presented forensic evidence in the form of e-mail exchanges between certain companies, detailing prices and market shares.

Nevertheless, after a hearing of the concerned companies on March 17 2017, the Commission accepted their objections. All companies stated that they set their prices independently, while their employees report prices of competing neighbouring fuel stations on a daily basis to their respective headquarters. The companies also contested the methodology and conclusions of the competition watchdog in its market analysis.

Even though the CPC said the Bulgarian fuel market was susceptible to coordination by market participants, it decided to put an end to investigations, imposing a ban on communication and insider trading on the six companies, including during meetings of the Bulgarian Oil and Gas Association.

The CPC is due to give a press conference on the matter on Thursday.


TAGS: Bulgaria | collusion | investigation | competition | fuels | retail market | filling stations | petrol stations | Commission for Protection of Competition | Lukoil Bulgaria | Eko Bulgaria | Shell Bulgaria | OMV Bulgaria | NIS Petrol | Petrol 


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