The authority imposed a fine of 0.33% of the total annual turnover generated in 2014 on the Serbian market, which amounted to RSD23,149,695 (approximately €190,000) for Victoriaoil and RSD8,601,942 (approximately €70,000) for Vital.
During 2015 the authority found that refined edible sunflower oil Vital (which is part of Vital's company portfolio) was actually produced and bottled by its competitor Victoriaoil (which produces edible sunflower oil under the name Iskon).
The authority had legitimate concerns that the companies had concluded a restrictive agreement and therefore conducted the investigation.
The authority determined that Victoriaoil's market share increased in the observed period, strengthening its market power. Further, the authority concluded that the respective cooperation contract:
- brought no consumer benefits;
- negatively affected product price; and
- contributed to the sensitive information exchange between competitors.
This was the first production cooperation agreement analysed by the authority. The authority established that the contract was restrictive by effect, not by object. It therefore conducted a detailed economic (econometric) analysis of the contracts.
This article was first edited and first published on www.internationallawoffice.com