The Slovenia Times

Renault car repair shops found in breach of competition rules


Ljubljana - Slovenia's competition watchdog has found Renault Nissan Slovenija and four other companies have been colluding against competition in repair and maintenance of Renault vehicles through a cartel agreement for over ten years. One of the companies has admitted its involvement and provided further evidence in exchange for a milder sentence.

The Competition Protection Agency, which had been looking into suspected breaches in the case since early 2019, released its findings on Wednesday. Its decision is not yet final as the parties in the procedure can still appeal to the Administrative Court.

The agency has found that Renault Nissan Slovenija, Avtohiša Real, Avtohiša Malgaj, Pleško Cars and Avtoservis Kalan colluded in public procurement procedures for maintenance, repair and supply of spare parts for Renault vehicles by adjusting their bids, fixing prices, dividing contracting authorities among themselves and exchanging sensitive information.

The agency says the parties shared the intention not to compete in public contracting procedures, to divide contracts between themselves, set prices in their bids as agreed between them and to exchange relevant information so that a particular public contract should be won by the bidder to which the contracting authority or section was allotted to under their agreement.

The agency has found evidence to conclude that the breach of competition rules had been committed since at least 22 January 2008, and some parties in the procedure continued to break the rules even after the investigation was opened or after search was conducted at the companies.

"The parties to the procedure have thus largely eliminated effective competition in tenders, prevented contracting authorities from obtaining more favourable or genuinely competitive bids, and maintained prices at a level higher than would have been determined by effective competition on the market," reads the release from the competition watchdog.

The companies have thus acted in breach of the national prevention of restriction of competition act and the EU Treaty.

While its procedure into the case was under way, the agency had received an application by one of the parties to the dispute for leniency which allows participants in cartel agreements to be given a more favourable treatment.

The party submitting the application cooperated with the agency by disclosing its participation in the agreement and presented further evidence proving the violation.

The other parties countered the agency's findings throughout the procedure, insisting they had not breached competition protection rules and that the allegations of irregularities were unfounded.


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