SUPREME ADMINISTRATIVE COURT UPHOLDS COUNCIL’S DECISION: CINEMA CARTELS RESULTED IN FEWER DISCOUNTS FOR CONSUMERS
The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania rejected the appeal by UAB Forum Cinemas against the Competition Council’s decision whereby the company was fined EUR 1,384,300 for fixing prices of cinema tickets as part of two separate cartel agreements.
On 18 December 2015 the Council found that Forum Cinemas encouraged its competitors, namely, Multikino Lietuva and Cinamon Operations, to refrain from applying discounts to blockbuster movies during the first two weeks of their screenings. In addition, owners of the cinemas in the cities of Vilnius and Kaunas restricted discounts and fixed prices for certain movies in support of Forum Cinemas’ initiative. The Council believes that if there had been no cartels, more special offers and discounts could have been offered to consumers.
The Court agreed with Vilnius Regional Administrative Court that sided with the Council’s decision and confirmed that the fine imposed on the company is proportionate to the gravity of the infringement.
The Council’s findings showed that the anti-competitive agreement between Forum Cinemas and Multikino Lietuva lasted for about 2 years, while the agreement between Forum Cinemas and UAB Cinamon Operations – for over 3 years.
After having filed leniency applications, Multikino Lietuva and Cinamon Operations were exempted from EUR 99,200 and EUR 138,800 fines respectively.
The Court’s decision is final and binding.