Lithuania: Cemetery maintenance cartel fined

Lithuanian competition regulator Konkurencijos taryba found that in the public tender of Vilnius city cemetery maintenance services, the firms belonging to the group of companies City Service concluded a cartel agreement with their competitor Naujininkų ūkis. Konkurencijos taryba fined these companies a total of €412,100 (US$462,694).

Konkurencijos taryba received initial claim from Vilnius City Municipality which launched a public tender for the procurement of cemetery maintenance services on May 31, 2018. Having suspected that the competitors Mano aplinka and Naujininkų ūkis concluded a bid-rigging cartel, the Municipality excluded the two companies from participation in a procurement procedure.

Having conducted the investigation, the regulator found that Mano aplinka and Naujininkų ūkis assisted by City Service Engineering, concluded a cartel which restricted competition: the companies agreed to rig their bids, including the prices, and imitated competition in public tender.

When imposing the sanctions, Konkurencijos taryba evaluated the fact that in the course of the infringement, 100% of City Service Engineering shares belonged to the Estonian company City Service. The latter company also had control over 100% of Mano aplinka shares indirectly through Mano Būsto priežiūra (previously Mano Būstas). Since the investigation revealed that City Service had a decisive influence on its subsidiary companies Mano Būsto priežiūra, Mano aplinka, and City Service Engineering, while Mano Būsto priežiūra – on its subsidiary firm Mano aplinka, these two parent companies were found liable for the cartel.

Having evaluated the gravity, duration and other circumstances relating to the infringement, Konkurencijos taryba imposed a joint and several fine of €381,100 (US$427,872) on City Service, Mano Būsto priežiūra, City Service Engineering, and Mano aplinka, and a fine of €31,000 (US$34,803) on Naujininkų ūkis.

Investigation into the conduct of Ecoservice which also participated in the aforementioned tender was closed as no evidence of anti-competitive agreement was established.

The decision of Konkurencijos taryba can be appealed to Vilnius Regional Administrative Court.

Full Content: Emailed Press Release

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