Monday, 25 July 2022

Decision 793/2022

Decision adopted in the context of the simplified Settlement Procedure under Article 29Aof Law 3959/2011, based on the relevant Statement of Objections under ref. no.6663/8.7.2022 by the case Rapporteur Ioannis Stefatosand HCC Decision no. 704/2020 on the ex officio investigation of the Directorate General for Competition in the ferry connection Igoumenitsa - Lefkimmifor possible infringement of article 1 of the Greek Competition Act, as in force, and article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),followingthe settlement submissions by the companiesi) "LEFKIMMI LINES SHIPPING COMPANY", (ii) "MACEDONIA IV SHIPPING COMPANY" (hereinafter referred to as "MACEDONIA IV” and iii) "SARRIS KERKYRAIKES GRAMMES SHIPPING COMPANY"(hereinafter referred to as"SARRIS”, and all three companies jointly referred to as the “Companies”)

Decision 793/2022

File (PDF) Decision 793/2022
Date of Issuance of Decision July 25th, 2022
Issue Number of Government Bulletin                                   6160/ Β΄/5.12.2022
Relevant Market     

The ferry connection of the port of Igoumenitsa– Lefkimmi, covering a distance of ten (10) nautical miles with a boat trip duration of fifty minutes..

Subject of the Decision Decisionontheexofficioinvestigationconductedby the Directorate General for Competition in the ferry connection of the port of IgoumenitsawithCorfuIsland, for alleged infringement of article 1 of Law 3959/2011, as in force, and article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),following the relevant Statement of Objections under ref. no. 6663/8.7.2022 by the case Rapporteur Ioannis Stefatos. 
Legal Framework

25A (currently 29A) of L. 3959/2011,

Operative part of the Decision

TheHellenicCompetitionCommissionunanimouslydecided, inplenary, accordingto the relevant grounds of its Decision, on the acceptance of the settlement proposals submitted by the companies: a) LEFKIMMI LINES SHIPPING COMPANY, (b) SARRIS KERKYRAIKES GRAMMES SHIPPING COMPANY and c)MACEDONIA IV SHIPPING COMPANY, and

Findsthat the parties concerned infringed Article 1 of Law 3959/2011 by participating in a prohibited horizontal agreement.

Orders the undertakingsengaged in the above infringement to cease, if they have not already done so, and refrain in the future from the infringementestablished in the grounds of the Decision.It is noted, however, that the undertakingsconcerned stated in theirsettlement submissions that, regardless of how their services will be promoted and provided (e.g., through an online platform that will not be managed and/or controlled by any of the parties to the agreement), their commercial and pricing policy will be developed autonomously vis-à-vis their competitors.

Imposes reduced fines, in the context of the settlement procedure, for the established infringement of article 1 of L. 3959/2011, as follows:a) on LEFKIMMI LINES SHIPPING COMPANY, a total fine of 44,069 euros b) on SARRIS KERKYRAIKES GRAMMES SHIPPING COMPANY, a total fine of 41,974 euros and c) on MACEDONIA IV SHIPPING COMPANY, a total fine of 49,193 euros.

Company(ies) concerned
Summary of Decision

By its unanimous Decision no 793/2022, the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC)decided, in plenary, on the acceptance of the relevant settlement submissions by the above undertakings.

For the purposes of the investigation, the Directorate General for Competition carried out, within its competence, on-site inspections (dawn raids) at the headquarters of the above undertakings, on the 30th of July 2019. Furthermore, in order to evaluate the documents collected, unsworn statements were taken from the legal representatives of the above joint venturesand requests for information-questionnaires were sent to the parties concerned.

The relevant market in the present case is the provision of coastal shipping services referred to a local ferry connection. The relevant geographic market is the Igoumenitsa-Lefkimmi ferry connection. 

According to the HCC Decision, the companies LEFKIMMI LINES, SARRIS and MACEDONIA IV were engaged in a common price-fixing and market-sharing scheme, through individual agreements and actions expressing their will to adopt a common behavior, participating in that respect in a horizontal anti-competitive agreement,within the meaning of article 1 of Law 3959/2011.

The above undertakings participated in a concerted practice/agreement consisting in price fixing and market sharing, setting the framework of their joint action in relation to their commercial-discount policy and the scheduled services/routes that they would operate on the Lefkimmi-Igoumenitsa ferry connection, in the context of which they proactively reduced the uncertainty entailed by an autonomous business behavior and, by extension, a competitive behavior. The above agreement between the Companies on setting prices and routes was implemented.

It is noted that the specific Decision regarding the ferry line Igoumenitsa - Lefkimmifollows the HCC's ex officio investigation and Decision no. 759/2021 which concerned the Igoumenitsa ferry connection with the Port of Corfu.

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