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WHEN IMPOSING THE FINES FOR PROHIBITED AGREEMENTS THE COMPETITION COUNCIL DULY CONSIDERED THE CONFESSIONS OF THE INFRINGING COMAPNIES

10 07 2008

The Competition Council passed the resolution on the infringement of Article 5 of the Law on Competition having proved the conclusion of prohibited agreements (cartels). In this particular case the national competition authority disclosed the conclusion of prohibited agreements by companies while participating in public procurement tenders for the implementation of the projects supported from the EU structural funds.

Having in its meeting evaluated the conclusions of the investigation the Competition Council recognised that the EIP company group (Eurointegracijos projektai UAB, EIP Kaunas UAB, EIP Vilnius UAB), also Finsida UAB and Statybų strategija UAB while participating in various public procurement tenders infringed the requirements of Article 5 of the Law on Competition and imposed upon the infringing companies appropriate sanctions. The EIP enterprise group was jointly sanctioned to LTL 144,000, a LTL 12,000 sanction was imposed upon Statybų strategija UAB and Finsida UAB was fined LTL 3,000.

The investigation that involved the examination of actions undertaken by the companies concerned in the period 2005-2007 while participating in the public procurement tenders announced by purchasing organisations concerning the implementation of the EU structural support projects was conducted in response to the request of the public enterprise Central Project Management Agency. The investigation conducted by the Competition Council confirmed the suspicion on the conclusion of prohibited agreements by submitting, within the framework of public procurement tenders, the concerted tender offers including coordinated tender prices thus restricting competition. The enterprises that had concluded the prohibited agreements were participating in public procurement tenders for the development of projects to obtain support under various measures of the Single Programming Document of Lithuania. The investigation revealed that the companies of EIP group had concluded prohibited competitor agreements with Statybų strategija UAB and Finsida UAB concerning the participation in a range of public procurement tenders: two public procurement tenders announced by Neringa municipality administration; Krekenava primary health care centre, PE Kuršėnai polytechnic school and the public procurement tender announced by Birštonas Municipality, PE Rokiškio psichiatrijos ligoninė and Anykščių šiluma UAB and others.

The facts and other circumstances established by the Competition Council during the investigation allowed a conclusion that the companies were acting not as independent tenderers, and competing undertakings, but rather were coordinating the tender proposals, including the tender prices. When assessing the findings of the completed investigation and imposing sanctions for the infringements of Article 5 of the Law on Competition the Competition Council duly considered the fact that the companies concerned, in the course of the investigation submitted their confessions on prohibited agreements and cooperation. Furthermore, the findings of the investigation allowed the conclusion of a joint liability of the EIP enterprise group which for purpose of the investigation was composed of Eurointegracijos projektai UAB and its subsidiaries EIP Kaunas and EIP Vilnius, for the infringement of the Law on Competition in particular, having assessed the significance influence of Eurointegracijos projektai UAB upon its subsidiaries, all three companies for the solutions that constituted the infringement of the law have to be jointly liable.

When imposing the fines the Competition Council also considered an aggravating circumstance to the effect that Eurointegracijos projektai UAB had been sanctioned for the infringement of Article 5 of the Law on Competition back in 2006.

Competition Council Spokesperson