18 June 2015

German FCO fines garage producers for price fixing

The German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) has fined ten producers of standard-sized prefabricated concrete garages for having participated in illegal price coordination.  Nine of the companies involved in the price fixing arrangements conspired regarding garage sales in the Southern part of Germany.  Representatives of their companies met several times per year to repeatedly agree on minimum sales prices during the period 2005-2012.  The cartelists introduced three different price zones and agreed to differentiate prices according to the volumes sold and types of customers (private constructors on the one hand and architects or building companies as commercial customers on the other).  In addition, the cartel agreed on surcharges for road toll, energy and steel costs.  Some of the cartelists conspired in additional meetings during 2005 and 2009 to agree on customer protection and specifically higher prices for the regions with postal codes starting with 78 and 79.

An additional company from Northern Germany entered into bilateral anticompetitive arrangements with the leniency applicant Rekers to coordinate garage prices offered within the Northern German States between 2006 and 2009.

The investigation of the FCO was launched upon Rekers’ leniency application based on which Rekers managed to escape a fine.  The FCO reports that all companies cooperated with the FCO during the proceedings and agreed to settlements which led to reductions in their fines.  All decisions are binding and cannot be appealed by the parties.


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