The Swedish light fittings supplier Markslöjd has accepted an administrative fine order of SEK 1.7 million from the Swedish Competition Authority for unlawfully limiting a retailer’s ability to determine the price of the supplier’s products.
Markslöjd AB sells domestic light fittings and Christmas lights to retailers. In 2018, the company demanded that the retailer Velltra increase its retail prices for the supplier’s domestic lighting products. Otherwise, Markslöjd would stop supplying its products to Velltra. Velltra agreed to partially adjust its prices in accordance with the supplier’s demands. The agreement lasted about four months and encompassed the retailer’s sales to end customers in both stores and via e-commerce.
Markslöjd has restricted competition by cooperating with a retailer with regard to its prices, in violation of Swedish and EU competition rules. The fact that the retail price maintenance involved e-commerce makes the infringement more serious, as the effects on consumer prices are likely to be more widespread.
“When companies enter into unlawful agreements to restrict competition, it risks leading to higher prices for consumers. Limiting the ability of retailers to independently determine their prices is therefore a serious violation of the competition rules.” says Rikard Jermsten, Director General of the Swedish Competition Authority.
Velltra alerted the Swedish Competition Authority to the unlawful agreement in connection with an application for leniency. Under the leniency programme, companies that report their participation in a cartel or other anti-competitive behaviour may be exempted from fines. Velltra therefore does not have to pay a fine for the infringement.
Markslöjd has agreed to pay an administrative fine of SEK 1,780,000.
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