The Competition Council (CC) of Latvia has published its Annual Report 2013, within which the information on topicalities and the most substantial events in the field of the competition is provided. Further, the Report provides a retrospect to results of the operation and management of the CC, as well as operational priorities for the year 2014.
During the year 2013, the CC adopted a total of 40 decisions. In 12 cases, violations of the Competition Law were detected. For anti-competitive practices 44 undertakings were imposed fines overall in the amount of 3 775 254.95 lats.
Ten of all disclosed infringements during the previous year were severe violations of the Competition Law – seven prohibited agreements among market participants and three cases of an abuse of dominant position.
Six of cartel agreements were related to coordinated actions among undertakings in public procurements. The most significant case of the year 2013 is cartel agreement (bid rigging) among 26 energy construction companies. Those undertakings, involved in the highest number of cartelised procurements, were imposed with a fine of 7,5 % of the previous financial year net turnover, which is the most severe punishment in the history of the CC.
In 2013, excessive pricing, imposition of unfair purchase or selling prices to clients and rising of strategic barriers were the detected infringements of an abuse of dominant position.
During the reporting year, 17 legal proceedings of appealed decisions by the CC were closed. In 16 cases court upheld the decisions of the CC, while in one case legal proceedings were terminated after conciliation agreement as the CC agreed on renewing previously closed investigation.
In 2013, 15 market inquiries were concluded. In the end of the year, inquiries in 16 different markets were continued.
The key priority of the CC for the year 2014 is combating the most sever violations of the Competition Law – prohibited agreements and abuse of dominant position. In order to promote competition, cooperation with the public and local government authorities, legal offices, business associations and education institutions has been set as another priority of the CC. In 2014, the CC has planned to carry out comprehensive sector inquiries in such priority markets as IT products and services market, online sale, energy, finance, food industry and procurement power in retail trade.