Antitrust: Serbian Commission launched investigation against 16 traders of sports’ equipment for alleged cartel
The Commission for Protection of Competition initiated proceedings against 16 wholesale and retail of sportswear, footwear, equipment and accessories undertakings.
The proceedings were initiated on the grounds of reasonable presumption of existence of competition infringement pursuant to Article 10 of the Law on Protection of Competition, an activity restricting the competition on retail and wholesale markets of sportswear, footwear, equipment and accessories market in the Republic of Serbia. The undertakings against whom the proceedings were initiated are as follows: „N SPORT“, „PREDUZEĆE ĐAK“, „OFFICE-SHOES“, „PLANETA SPORT“, „CARVEL“, „SPORTMARKET“, „ZVEZDA FOREVER“, „TOTAL SPORT“, „SPORTIKO“, „UNIVERS-CO“, „EUROSTAR“, „TRIM DOO VRBAS“, „K..G…FASSHION“, „KOPELLI“ and „STR FOKUS“ and „KOMISION SPORT ONE“.
On August 18, 2016, the Commission performed a down raid at the business premises of the „N Sport“ company and acquired information, data and contracts which this company has entered into with its customers. The down raid was conducted due to the existence of a reasonable doubt of danger of disposal or altering evidence held by the party in the proceedings.
According to the collected information and documents, the „N Sport“ company, as the seller, has entered into contracts on business cooperation with other undertakings against whom the Commission has initiated proceedings, which contained an obligation for the customers to comply with the minimum retail price set by the „N Sport“ in the resale of their products. This obligation particularly pertained to the brands PUMA, RUSSELL ATHLETIC, SERGIO TACCHINI and others. Also, the contracts contained a prohibition of special sales actions and other forms of favorable sales without prior approval of the seller, i.e. the „N Sport“.
The Commission reasonably assumed that certain provisions of the concluded contracts represent a mutually agreed obligation, by way of which prices and terms of trade are set in an illegal manner, which constitutes a restrictive agreement and infringement of competition pursuant to Article 10 of the Law on Protection of Competition. Restrictive agreements are agreements between undertakings, the object or effect of which is to considerably restrict, distort or prevent competition on the territory of the Republic of Serbia, and in particular those agreements which directly or indirectly set purchase or sale prices or other terms of trade in the resale of products.
The Commission invites all the parties who may possess data, documents or any other relevant information which may contribute to determining the facts in these proceedings, to submit them at the address of the Commission for Protection of Competition, Savska 25/IV, Belgrade.