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Czech anti-monopoly office fines distributors for price fixing

Fuel distributor Shell was one of at least five distributors fined by the anti-monopoly office UOHS for operating a cartel on price fixing, according to a report on the privately-owned TV Nova. According to press reports the fines levied totalled 300 million crowns.

The offence is considered one of the most serious breaches of the law on the protection of economic competition. According to TV Nova, Shell were fined 65 million crowns, and a spokesman for Benzina told Nova that the company was on the UOHS list. Shell and Conoco confirmed to Nova their receipt of the decision, and the media are speculating about distributors OMV and Agip.

The companies have 15 days to appeal against the UOHS decision, after which time it will become enforceable. The UOHS previously investigated cartel agreements between March and October 2000, but failed to uncover any evidence. The fine is the highest in the history of the UOHS.

(NewsBase 16.ix.02)

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