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Monday, 09 May 2022 15:42

Press Release – Case prioritisation and assignment to a Rapporteur

Press Release: Case prioritisation and assignment to a Commissioner-Rapporteur – School Bags

On Friday, May 6, 2022, the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) assigned to a Commissioner-Rapporteur, pursuant to Article 15 of Law 3959/2011, the case concerning its in-depth investigation into the import/manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade of school bags, kids’ lunch bags and pencil cases regarding potential violations of the provisions of Article 1 of Greek Law 3959/2011 and Article 101 TFEU. The HCC’s ex officio investigation concerns potential anti-competitive vertical agreements between each of three manufacturers / importers and their respective resellers / retailers.

In the context of this investigation, officials of the Directorate-General for Competition (DGC) had conducted on 16.9.2021 unannounced inspections (dawn raids) at the premises of undertakings active in the markets concerned as manufacturers, importers or retailers.

The DGC’s investigation is still on-going with respect to the remaining undertakings that are subject to this investigation.

Legal framework

The HCC is responsible for enforcing Greek and EU antitrust rules in the Greek territory (Articles 1 and 2 of Greek Law 3959/2011 and Articles 101 and 102 TFEU). Article 1 of Law no. 3959/2011 and Article 101 of the TFEU prohibit anti-competitive agreements between undertakings (agreements, decisions of associations of undertakings or concerted practices) that have as their object or effect the restriction of competition. Article 2 of Law no. 3959/2011 and Article 102 of the TFEU prohibit the abuse of a dominant position.

The assignment of a case to a Rapporteur triggers the time-limits of Article 15 par. 4 and 5 of Law 3959/2011 and does not prejudge the content of the Statement of Objections or the HCC’s Decision. The statutory time-limit (seven months in total) is only indicative, and the duration of the antitrust investigation depends, inter alia, on its complexity, on the size of the administrative file as well as on the number and degree of cooperation of the investigated undertakings.