Bulgaria: Watchdog fines 24 firms for building cartels

Bulgaria’s Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) announced on December 10 that it has fined 24 companies a total of 398 200 leva (US$225,910), for entering into cartels to manipulate the outcomes of public procurement tenders under the national energy efficiency program.

The government-backed program has allocated extensive funds in recent years for the renovation of apartment buildings across the country, mainly through the use of external insulation.

The CPC opened its investigation against 12 firms in March 2016, after the mayor of Turgovishte municipality in north-eastern Bulgaria raised concerns about a possible cartel.

In June 2017, the regulator expanded its probe to cover the Gotse Delchev municipality in south-western Bulgaria and the country’s second-largest city Plovdiv, after finding evidence that one of the companies under investigation had engaged in similar activities outside Turgovishte.

During its investigation, CPC found that the companies colluded to allocate which firm would carry out renovation on individual buildings and at what price, with the effect of completely shutting out any competition in the public tender.

Full Content: Sofia Globe

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