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15 April 2010
The Anti-monopoly Office of the Slovak Republic has imposed a fine of €48,373 on Natur-Pack as and 14 waste collection companies for entering into an agreement that restricted competition. Natur-Pack organizes the collection and recycling of packaging from companies that use the packaging to sell their goods on the market. Between 2006 and 2008 the waste collection companies concluded contracts on the realization of packaging waste collection with Natur-Pack, which included an obligation for exclusive supplies (ie, exclusive packaging waste collection by Natur-Pack from these companies). According to the Anti-monopoly Office, this led to the exclusion of other authorized companies that organize packaging collection and recycling. The office imposed a fine on Natur-Pack, but could not apply a block exemption on the provision of the contracts due to Natur-Pack's high market share.
The Anti-monopoly Office has also imposed a fine of €13,404 on Polish company FM Group World Spk (FMG) and its exclusive distributor in the Slovak Republic, FM Group Sl sro (FMG SK), for entering into a franchising agreement on the distribution of FM-branded cosmetics, which obliged FMG SK to include a resale price maintenance clause in contracts with Slovak retailers. Based on this clause, retailers of FM cosmetics in Slovakia were restricted in their price policy. The Anti-monopoly Office considered several facts when determining the fine amount, namely:
The office also took into account that:
The Bratislava Regional Court has rejected the action of Marianum, a funeral undertaking belonging to the city of Bratislava, against the Anti-monopoly Office's June 2008 decision. By this decision the office had imposed a fine of €237,668.46 on Marianum for abuse of its dominant position.
According to the office, Marianum has a dominant position in Bratislava because, as an undertaking founded by the city, it operates the city's cemeteries. Therefore, other independent companies that provide funeral services in Bratislava are dependent on Marianum. Marianum breached the Competition Act by automatically charging other funeral companies for certain services which were not required by these companies (eg, the hiring of a ceremony hall in cemeteries operated by Marianum). Marianum also charged customers an unjustified fee for certain services (eg, flower disposal and gifts), which should have been included in the fee for renting the gravesite.
For further information on this topic please contact Martin Nedelka or Radovan Kubác at Schönherr vos by telephone (+42 0 225 996 500), fax (+42 0 225 996 555) or email (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).
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