Fines imposed on franchisor and franchisees for price collusions involving milking robots
Together with its three Danish franchisees, the Lely centres, Lely Nordic, which is a franchise for the sales of milking robots for the agricultural sector, has accepted to pay fines totalling DKK 1 million for having coordinated prices and shared markets in violation of the competition rules.
The matter shows that a supplier participating in a cartel between its independent distributors can share the liability for the cartel even if the supplier does not itself compete with its distributors. The above applies to both franchise systems and other types of distribution, including selective distribution. The matter also shows that the franchisees can be competitors in the same franchise system.
It is noted that the violation took place before the level of fines for violating competition law was significantly increased in 2013 and today a similar violation would most likely result in more severe sanctions.
The Danish Competition Authority's press release of 10 May 2016 about the matter can be read here (in Danish).