Tuesday, 26 January 2021 22:10

Press Release - Decision concerning the compliance of the company ARGOS SA

Subject: 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[1]

The Plenary of the Hellenic Competition Commission (“HCC”) convened on 14, 20 and 27 July 2020 in order to review, upon the basis of the relevant Statement of Objections, pursuant to Article 25(5) of Greek Law 3959/2011 (‘Greek Competition Act’)[2], the compliance of the company ARGOS SA Press Distribution Agency (“ARGOS”) with the operative part of the HCC Decision no. 687/2019[3],[4].

The Plenary of the HCC had decided unanimously, by its Decision no. 687/2019 concerning the press distribution market in Greece[5], to order interim measures vis-a-vis the said company, in view of the urgency to directly prevent an imminent threat of irreparable harm to the public interest, and after having considered that an infringement consisting in an abuse of ARGOS’ dominant position in the press distribution market was likely and probable. The HCC Decision no 687/2019 was published on 15.05.2020 (GG Β΄ 1852/15.05.2020). 

After having reviewed the compliance of ARGOS with the operative part of the HCC Decision no. 687/2019, according to Article 25(5) of Law 3959/2011, the HCC decided the following: 

Α. 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, for the period from 01.01.2020 up until 18.02.2020 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 one (1) publishing company, for the period from 06.12.2019 up until 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 one (1) publishing company the risk of that company’s financial sustainability, for the period from 06.12.2019 up until 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 for the period from 25.01.2020 up until 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 in accordance with the contractual terms of the previous commercial policy of ARGOS.

A.1Imposesby majority, a total fine of €6.071,19 on ARGOS for the aforementioned infringements.

A.2Threatensby majority, ARGOS with a fine, in case the HCC confirms the continuation or the repetition of the infringements established above.

B Does not imposeunanimously, a fine on ARGOS for failing to initiate negotiations with one (1) publishing firm, as referred to in point A(2) above, according to point II.2 of the operative part of the Decision no. 687/2019.  

 

[1] See here.

[2] See. here HCC’s press release on 28th May 2020 in Greek and here HCC’s press release on 29th May 2020 in English.

[3] See here HCC Decision no 687/2019. 

[4] See here HCC’s press release regarding its Decision no 687/2019 in Greek and here HCC’s press release regarding its Decision no 687/2019 in English.

[5] See here with regard to the initiation of a regulatory intervention procedure (market investigation) in the press distribution sector in Greek, and here in English. See, also here & here with regard to HCC Decision no 39/2019 in Greek και here in English.

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