The Swedish Competition Authority has found that the companies Ragn-Sells AB and Bilfrakt Bothnia AB breached the competition rules when they agreed not to compete in municipal tenders for waste collection in the Västerbotten region. The companies have accepted the administrative fine and must now pay fines totalling SEK 4.5 million.
The Swedish Competition Authority has investigated a cooperation agreement between Ragn-Sells AB and Bilfrakt Bothnia AB concerning the provision of various environmental and transport services in Västerbotten. The agreement included a clause by which the companies agreed not to submit competing bids in municipal tenders for the collection of household waste in the region for a period of five years.
Ragn-Sells and Bilfrakt entered into the agreement in 2010. In 2013, Bilfrakt transferred its waste collection business in the subsidiary Transbothnia AB to Postnord AB. In connection with this transfer, Transbothnia replaced Bilfrakt as Ragn-Sells’ counterpart in the 2010 agreement.
When, in February 2014, Postnord noticed the non-compete clause in the contract, the company contacted the Swedish Competition Authority and applied for leniency on behalf of Transbothnia.
According to the leniency programme, businesses that report their participation in a cartel or other form of anti-competitive cooperation can be granted immunity from fines. In this case it means that Transbothnia completely escaped any sanction.
“This example demonstrates that it is in the interests of a company that has taken part in an unlawful cooperation to contact the Swedish Competition Authority to expose the collusion. This means that the company may be granted a reduction in the fines they have to pay, or even avoid having to pay a fine at all”, says Kristina Geiger, Deputy Director-General of the Swedish Competition Authority.
The information received led to the Swedish Competition Authority conducting a dawn raid at the premises of Ragn-Sells and Bilfrakt in March 2014.
Both Ragn-Sells and Bilfrakt have accepted the administrative fee. This means that they agree to the Swedish Competition Authority’s demands for the payment of the fines.
“By accepting the Authority’s demands, companies avoid being drawn into expensive and lengthy court proceedings. The process becomes more efficient and it saves money for both the companies and the State”, says Kristina Geiger.
Ragn-Sells and Bilfrakt have agreed to pay fines of SEK 2,450,000 and SEK 2,060,000 respectively.
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