Spanish competition authority imposes fine of almost €90 million on six shipping companies
United Kingdom | Competition, EU and regulatory
On 12 November 2012, the Spanish Competition Commission (CNC) announced that it has imposed fines of €88.5 million on six shipping companies for cartel activity between 2002 and 2010: Balearia, Transmediterranea, Forde Reederei Seetouristik, International Maritime Transport Corporation, Compagnie Maritime Marocco-Norvegienne and Comanav.
Although the CNC has not yet published its Decision, it stems from dawn raids by the CNC in 2010 at the premises of most of the companies involved. Further inspections were carried out a year later, in May 2011, which resulted in an additional infringement decision in February 2012.
The February 2012 infringement decision saw the CNC impose fines of €54 million on Balearia, Transmediterranea and three smaller companies for agreeing prices and sharing markets in relation to maritime transport routes between the Spanish Peninsula and the Balearic Islands. In addition, Balearia and Transmediterraea had already been fined €14.4 million in 2011 for having agreed prices and shared markets for maritime transport routes between Spain and Ceuta.
The CNC's November 2012 Decision alleges that the six shipping companies exchanged information, reaching agreements on pricing and other trade conditions for maritime transport routes for both passengers and cargo between Spain and Morocco from 2002 to 2010. Fines ranged from €2.2 million to €27.7 million for the companies involved.
The CNC considered recidivism by certain of the parties to be an aggravating factor when calculating the amount of the fine in this later case.
The CNC also notes in its press release that more than one company applied for leniency but only Balearia was awarded a reduction of 40% for having submitted information of significant added value.
The total level of fines imposed in Spain during 2012 now amounts to €230 million, getting closer to the total amount of fines imposed in 2011 (€260 million). Fines relating to cartel agreements in 2012 represents 80% of the total fines imposed (€175 million).
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