Monday, 02 November 2020 13:17

Decision 720/2020

Decision concerning the compliance of the company ARGOS SA Press Distribution Agency with the operative part of the HCC Decision no. 687/2019, pursuant to Article 25(5) of Law 3959/2011.

Decision 720/2020
File (PDF) Decision 720/2020
Date of Publication of Decision November 2nd 2020
Issue Number of Government Bulletin
Relevant Market 

Printed press distribution

Subject of Decision Decision concerning the compliance of the company ARGOS SA Press Distribution Agency with the operative part of the HCC Decision no. 687/2019, pursuant to Article 25(5) of Law 3959/2011.
Legal Framework Article 25(5) L. 3959/2011
Operative part of the Decision

According to its Decision, adopted in an open vote, the Plenary of the Hellenic Competition Commission:

A. Concludes, by majority, that ARGOS did not comply with the HCC Decision no. 687/2019, as defined in points II.1.3, II.2 and ΙΙ.3 of the operative part of that Decision and particularly:

1) Non compliance of ARGOS with point II.1.3 of the operative part of the Decision no. 687/2019, due to the delay in repaying withheld amounts as regards sixteen (16) publishing companies, namely the companies ECO NEWS PC, Architectural Publications Ltd, ALAMOULIS CH. CON/NOS, Anexartita Media SA, KLEIDERIS BROS & CO GP, Velis Georgios, G. Polychroniou & CO –Pelagic Media, St. Karydakis Gr. Arts SA, D. SEIRINAKIS SA, I EPOCHI LL COOP., MAKELEIO LTD, Bam Media PC, PD Publications Ltd, P. ATHANASIADIS & CO SA, CHRYSI EFKAIRIA SA, E.M.E. PRIN SM PC., for the period from 01.01.2020 to 18.02.2020 (as the case may be) at the latest,

2) Non compliance of ARGOS with point II.2 of the operative part of the Decision no. 687/2019, for failing to initiate negotiations with DOCUMENTO MEDIA SM PC, for the period from 06.12.2019 to 28.02.2020,

3) Non compliance of ARGOS with point II.2 of the operative part of the Decision no. 687/2019 for not taking into account in the context of the negotiations with ENTYPOEKDOTIKI SA the risk of that company’s financial sustainability, for the period from 06.12.2019 to 28.02.2020,

4) Non compliance of ARGOS with point II.2 of the operative part of the Decision no. 687/2019 for not keeping and not procuring to the HCC minutes of the negotiations with seven (7) publishing companies, namely the companies CHRYSI EFKAIRIA SA, ESTIA INVESTMENTS GROUP SA (ESTIA INVESTMENTS MEDIA GROUP SA, ESTIA SA, ATHLITIKES PROVLEPSIS SA and ATHLITIKI ENIMEROSI SA) and ELLINIKOS TYPOS LTD, AVGI SA, ENTYPOEKDOTIKI SA, SADB SA, METROSPORT /METROMEDIA SA, for the period from 25.01.2020 to 27.07.2020. 

5) Non compliance of ARGOS with point II.3 of the operative part of the Decision no. 687/2019 for not distributing the media titles of one (1) publishing company, namely the company Black & White SA, in accordance with the contractual terms of the previous commercial policy of ARGOS, for the period from 01.01.2020 to 27.07.2020.

B. Imposes, by majority, a fine on Argos for non-compliance with the terms II.1.3, II.2 and II.3 of the operative part of the HCC Decision No. 687/2019 for the infringements set out in points 1), 3), 4) and 5) above, at the intervals relating to them, as follows:

1) for the delay of return of the withheld contributions to the above sixteen (16) publishing companies, imposes a fine of € 912.01,  

2) for not taking into account, during negotiations, the risk of sustainability of the publishing company ENTYPOEKDOTIKI SA, imposes a fine of € 196.63,

3) for the non compliance and non-submission of minutes regarding the negotiations with the above seven (7) publishing companies, imposes a fine of € 3,014.98,

4) for the not distributing the media titles according to the terms of the commercial policy applicable at the time of issuance of the decision on interim measures for the publishing company Black & White SA, imposes a fine of € 1,947.57,

C. Threatens ARGOS, by majority, with a fine and a penalty, in case the HCC establishes the continuation or the repetition of the infringements found.

D. Does not impose, unanimously, a fine on ARGOS for failing to initiate negotiations with DOCUMENTO MEDIA SM PC, as referred to in point A(2) above, according to point II.2 of the operative part of the Decision no. 687/2019.

Company(ies) concerned  ARGOS SA Press Distribution Agency
Summary of Decision

In relation to the above point A 1) of the operative part of its Decision, the HCC, in the light of the evidence on the file, established the compliance of Argos with respect to point II.1.3. of its Decision’s no. 687/2019 operative part regarding the vast majority of publishing companies, as it appears that Argos took steps to repay its debts in respect of withheld social security contributions withheld to most of these cooperating publishing companies, as stipulated in the operative part of the Decision. By contrast, the HCC found the non-compliance of Argos with the time limit set by the term II.1.3. of the operative part of the HCC Decision with regard to the above sixteen (16) publishing companies referred to in the operative part of the Decision. It is pointed out that the present finding concerns exclusively the non-compliance of Argos with the condition II.1.3. of the operative part of the HCC Decision no. 687/2019, pursuant to article 25(5) L. 3959/2011 due to non-compliance with the time limit set by the above condition, namely the return of the social security contributions withheld until 31.12.2019.

In relation to the above points A 2), 3) and 4) of the operative part of its Decision, the HCC, in the light of the evidence on the file, establisehd the non-compliance of Argos with the condition II.2 of the HCC Decision no. 687/2019 in relation to (a) the non-conduct of negotiations with the company Documento Media SM PC, (b) in part concerns the conduct of negotiations that take into account the parameters set by the above Decision and especially the risk of sustainability of both parties in relation to the companies that raised the risk of sustainability and whether or not they signed the new commercial policy of Argos, the non-compliance of Argos regarding the negotiations with ENTYPOEKDOTIKI SA and (c) the non-submission or submission of unsigned minutes, and consequently, the non-compliance of Argos, especially with regard to the negotiations with the seven (7) publishing companies referred to in the operative part of the Decision as above.

Finally, in relation to the above point A 5) of the operative part of its Decision, the HCC concluded that, in the light of the relevant evidence and the fact that Argos did not contest it, although it was given that possibility, that Argos has ceased distributing the titles of the company Black & White SA in accordance with its commercial policy applicable at the time of issuance of the HCC Decision no. 687/2019 and, therefore, found, the non-compliance of Argos with point II. 3. of its Decision’s no. 687/2019 operative part.

Judicial Means -
Decisions by the Court of Appeal of Athens (Administrative Division) -
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