The Commission for the Protection of Competition (CPC) fined retail chain Kaufland Bulgaria Lev343,417 (approximately €175,000) for abuse of a superior bargaining position. The fine was requested by alcohol producer Keti-94 Ltd – Plovdiv. The fine's amount is 7% of Kaufland's net revenues from the sale of the products subject to the violation for 2019.
This is the second CPC case on Kaufland's alleged abuse of a superior bargaining position with regard to Keti-94 Ltd – Plovdiv (for further details please see "Abuse of stronger bargaining power"). In 2016 the CPC imposed a Lev157,981 fine on Kaufland. The new proceedings are due to a March 2019 Supreme Administrative Court decision, which annulled the 2016 CPC decision and returned the file to the CPC to rule in accordance with the instructions given in the reasons. The Supreme Administrative Court reasoned the repeal by pointing to the lack of sufficient analysis by the CPC to apply the concept of superior bargaining position.
In its second review of the case, the CPC reconfirmed its previous findings that Keti-94 Ltd – Plovdiv was heavily dependent on Kaufland, since most of its revenues were generated through Kaufland's stores, but did not cover production and sales costs and made a loss. The CPC also established that by abusing its superior bargaining position, Kaufland had also violated the interests of consumers.
The decision is subject to appeal before the Sofia Administrative Court within 14 days of its notification to the parties.