The Supreme Court recently rendered a much-anticipated judgment on the legality of consortium agreements under competition law. The court repealed a Maritime and Commercial High Court decision from 2018 in a case concerning a consortium agreement between two companies regarding their joint bid on a public tender for road marking work. This ruling marks an increasingly restrictive practice, which may affect forms for cooperation other than consortia.
The Competition Appeals Tribunal recently upheld a decision by the Competition Council which found that two outdoor advertising companies, Clear Channel Danmark A/S and AFA JCDecaux A/S, had coordinated discount rates through an agreement. The council found that this anti-competitive behaviour had continued as a concerted practice for several years after the agreement had expired.
Several fines were handed out during Summer 2019 for Competition Act infringements. A group of cases regarding bid rigging in the demolition and plumbing industries were settled with fines issued to companies and management. In addition, the Danish association of camera distributors agreed to pay a fine for price coordination and Circle K Denmark A/S was fined for infringing merger control rules.
The Maritime and Commercial Court recently upheld a decision by the Competition Appeals Board which had found that a price coordination agreement between HMN Naturgas I/S, two sub-contractors and a trade association had as its object the restriction of competition. An interesting takeaway from the judgment is that the Maritime and Commercial Court viewed separable components of an agreement in isolation.
In recent months there have been a number of significant cases concerning restrictive agreements in Denmark. For example, a cooperative purchasing society was found guilty of coordinating prices, several judgments were issued regarding cartel infringement in the form of bid rigging in the demolition industry and a company executive was fined for imposing minimum resale prices on hair products.