FOLLOWING AMENDMENT OF SERVICE CONTRACT WITH CUSTOMERS BY TOKSIKA, KONKURENCIJOS TARYBA TERMINATES INVESTIGATION INTO SUSPECTED ABUSE OF DOMINANCE
The Lithuanian competition authority has terminated an investigation into a suspected abuse of dominance by a hazardous waste management company Toksika taking into account that the firm amended anti-competitive provisions of the contract with customers and few businesses might have been affected by the infringement of the state-owned company.
The investigation was initiated following the company‘s Ekopartneriai allegations regarding the unilateral termination of the hazardous waste management contract by Toksika and the terms of a newly proposed contract, obliging a contract party to deliver a certain minimum amount of medical waste per month and to transfer to Toksika for disposal the entire amount of medical waste awarded by public contracts. The customer was also prohibited from using the contract in order to obtain permission to transport medical waste to other countries.
Konkurencijos taryba found that the new contracts with Toksika, the only company having a license to dispose hazardous waste (including hazardous medical waste) by burning, which contained the amended provisions, were also signed by other undertakings collecting medical waste from medical institutions and transporting it for disposal to Toksika.
Since part of the medical waste can be disposed not only by burning, but also by other methods (transferring to undertakings engaged in medical waste treatment activities), there was a suspicion that Toksika might have restricted the abilities of Ekopartneriai and other companies to transport waste, which do not require burning, to alternative managers at a competitive price. Besides, Toksika might have restricted other undertakings‘ ability to provide medical waste management services.
During the investigation Konkurencijos taryba established that Toksika did not apply the contested contract terms in practice, besides, its customers, except for Ekopartneriai, did not make claims regarding the aforementioned provisions or their application, there were also not many companies that might have been affected by the suspected infringement. Although Toksika had terminated the hazardous waste management contract with Ekopartneriai, Vilnius Regional Court acknowledged that such action was illegal and invalid. In May 2021 Toksika amended the medical waste management contract and eliminated anti-competitive provisions, and it was signed by most of its customers, including Ekopartneriai.
Considering the aforementioned circumstances, Konkurencijos taryba decided to terminate the infringement into a suspected abuse of dominance by Toksika since its continuation would not have significant impact on effective competition and consumer welfare, and would require irrational use of resources since a more detailed assessment of the actions of the company would require disproportionate human resources compared to the expected results of the investigation.
The decision of Konkurencijos taryba may be appealed to Vilnius Regional Administrative Court.