Unprecedented big fine for binding resale prices
Opel Danmark has accepted a fine of more than DKK 8 million for having fixed minimum prices to be paid by its distributors. The fine is one of the biggest to date for violating the Danish Competition Act and it clearly indicates the increased level of fines that businesses can now expect to receive for violating the competition rules. The case also emphasises the importance of having a compliance programme in place to ensure that the competition rules are observed.
Opel Danmark itself contacted the competition authorities and produced information about this practice which violated the prohibition of the Danish Competition Act against binding resale prices.
Opel Danmark has accepted a fine of DKK 8.25 million for the violation. It is worth noting that it is specifically emphasised in the fine notice that the violation partly took place after 1 March 2013 when a significantly increased level of fines for violations of the Danish Competition Act came into effect.
The fine amount takes into account the mitigating circumstance that Opel Danmark itself contacted the authorities about the violation and that Opel Danmark had implemented a comprehensive compliance programme to ensure that the competition rules are observed.
The effect of the case on businesses:
The fine in this case is one of the biggest to date for violating the Danish Competition Act and the case clearly indicates the increased level of fines that businesses can now expect under the new fine rules that came into effect on 1 March 2013.
The case also shows the importance of a business having implemented a necessary compliance programme to ensure that the competition rules are observed. An efficient compliance programme cannot only help preventing violations of the Danish Competition Act and identifying any illegal conduct in the business, but it can also be a mitigating circumstance, as was the case with Opel Danmark, when the fine amount is to be fixed.
Click here to read the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority's press release about the matter with a link to the acceptance of the fine (in Danish).