UAB G4S LIETUVA WILL HAVE TO PAY EUR 2.7 MILLION FINE FOR COMPETITION LAW BREACH
The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania (hereinafter – Court) upheld the Competition Council‘s decision, according to which the security company G4S Lietuva (G4S) infringed the Law on Competition by concluding anti-competitive agreements in the market of cash-handling services and received EUR 2.7 million fine.
The Court‘s decision is final and binding – the security company will have to pay the fine and almost EUR 440,000 of interest.
The anti-competitive conduct by G4S, which significantly restricted or even eliminated competition, limited the ability of the buyers of cash handling and cash collection services to purchase these services at the best price–quality ratio. We are glad to hear the Court reinforce our position that the actions of G4S caused significant harm to competition, and confirm that the fine imposed on the company is proportionate to the seriousness of the infringement. We do hope that the Court‘s decision will encourage other companies to pay more attention to the compliance of their actions with the Law on Competition and refrain from any anti-competitive practices.
Elonas Šatas, Competition Council‘s Deputy Chairman
On 20 December 2012 the Council found that the anti-competitive agreements by G4S with the banks DNB, SEB, Swedbank prevented the competitors of G4S from acting in the markets of cash-handling and cash collection services, and breached Article 5 of the Law on Competition, as well as Article 101 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union.
In April 2014 the Court also confirmed that the agreements concluded between G4S and the banks restricted competition in the market of cash-handling services and limited the ability of banks‘ clients to choose the cash collection service provider. Since the Council did not prove the guilt of the banks regarding the restriction of competition in the relevant market, the Court repealed the Council‘s decision. Besides, the Court stated that during the course of the investigation the Council did not properly evaluate the commitments proposed by G4S as a basis for terminating the investigation and exempting the company from fine. The Court referred the case back to the Council for further investigation, after which the Council again found that G4S breached the Law on Competition and the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union, and fined the company EUR 2.7 million.
The Court took into account the Competition Council‘s evaluation regarding the commitments proposed by G4S, and stated that the market share which was closed by the agreements, long duration of anti-competitive conduct and other circumstances formed no sufficient ground for questioning the existence of serious harm to competition. According to the Court, the Council legitimately decided not to confirm the commitments proposed by G4S as a basis for terminating the investigation.