Coup by the CNMC. The National Markets and Competition Commission has fined a total of 3.5 million to six companies for altering the solid fuel marketing market, as reported by the agency and collected by Europa Press. Specifically, the companies, organized into three cartels, carried out, in some cases for almost 20 years (from 1999 to 2018), the exchange of sensitive commercial information, distributed customers and fixed prices, through various agreements, practices very harmful to competition, prohibited by law, as indicated by the body chaired by Cani Fernández.
The three sanctioned cartels focused on the commercialization of metallurgical coke, petroleum coke, coal, anthracite, foaming agents, refueling agents and micronized petroleum coke. These products are essential for various industries and economic activities, since they are used as a source of energy or as inputs for the production of other goods. The sanctioned companies are: Toro, with 1,255 million euros; FISL (670,000 euros), Graphites (425,000 euros), Candel (240,000 euros), GME (900,000 euros) and Capex CGC (75,000 euros).
In addition, the CNMC has fined several of the executives of these companies with a total of 166,700 euros for its responsibility in infractions. In the investigation of the file, the ‘superregulator’ considers it proven that these practices were developed mainly through these cartels, with horizontal agreements, which involved different sanctioned companies. The first one is an agreement between the companies Toro, FISL and Grafitos, who agreed to supply various clients according to proportions and conditions previously agreed upon between them, trying to maintain an apparent competitive performance with regard to their clients.
Thus, they coordinated the offers and prices that each one offered separately to customers, and exchanged information on individual negotiations with them. Mainly, they supplied metallurgical coke, but also anthracite, foaming and recharging. The companies affected by this ‘modus operandi’ They are distributed throughout the Spanish territory. In addition, it has been proven that FISL and Toro established a system whereby if the customers who were supplied with solid fuels complained about non-compliance with quality standards, they would distribute the payment of the penalty, although in theory, expensive to the client, only one company was responsible for the contract. The agreement between these two companies has been established for an uninterrupted period of 17 years.
The other cartels were between the Candel companies and GME, which reached a customer sharing agreement for the commercialization of micronized petroleum coke in Spain, establishing exclusive customers, setting quotas, prices and exchanging commercially sensitive information. The companies came to refer to their anti-competitive conduct as “the deal.” The two companies held meetings and communications between senior managers to organize and prioritize the distribution of customers based on the information they exchanged on sales volumes and transportation costs. Based on that information andestablished vetoes, prioritizations and quotas on clients, also explicitly agreeing to keep its behavior hidden from the market, the CNMC indicated.
Meanwhile, the third of the sanctioned agreements is between the companies Candel and Capex CGC, which, although it has a shorter duration compared to the other two accredited infractions, there are also various exchanges of sensitive commercial information and evidence of the agreement between them, which expose the execution of a preconceived general plan and not an isolated event. This agreement was aimed at fixing prices and distributing customers. For it, exchanged commercially sensitive price information and the quantities to be supplied to customers through calculation tables and emails.
*The article has been translated based on the content of LA INFORMACIÓN – Lo último by www.lainformacion.com. If there is any problem regarding the content, copyright, please leave a report below the article. We will try to process as quickly as possible to protect the rights of the author. Thank you very much!