The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) has recently adopted a number of significant decisions concluding cases initiated due to the suspected anti-competitive conducts of several undertakings. The adopted decisions reflect one of the primary objectives of the Authority, namely the adoption of strict action against cartels – particularly those concerning public procurement procedures.
At the end of last year, the GVH successfully concluded several cartel investigations. The total amount of the fines imposed in these cases was EUR 9 M. The GVH granted significant fine reductions in all of the cases to those undertakings that cooperated with the Authority. The total amount of the granted reductions was EUR 4.5 M. The Authority utilises the leniency policy and the settlement procedure in order to pursue its objective of eliminating anti-competitive conducts on markets. The leniency policy enables fine reductions to be granted to those undertakings that reveal their infringements, while the settlement procedure provides for fine reductions for those undertakings that waive their right to seek a legal remedy.
The decisions adopted by the GVH concerned the following anti-competitive conducts:
- The Hungarian distributors of an undertaking distributing alarm equipment had to pay a fine amounting to a total of over EUR 1.5 M as the concerned undertakings had reduced competition among the suppliers of the products for a period of almost 10 years.
- Significant fines were also imposed on five undertakings that had colluded (in various parts of the country) in public procurement procedures, which were typically funded by the EU, for the provision of specialised bins, vehicles and equipment for waste collection.
- Fines amounting to a total of EUR 4.8 M were also imposed in relation to an EU founded public procurement procedure. The fines were imposed on seven undertakings that produced and distributed diagnostic imaging products (namely MRI, CT and X-ray equipment).
In 2019, the total amount of the fines imposed in consumer protection cases exceeded the fines imposed in cartel cases due to the fact that the GVH has been imposing stricter punishments in relation to consumer protection infringements in recent years. Consequently, the total amount of fines attained the amount of fines imposed in cartel cases.
Budapest, 13 February 2020
Hungarian Competition Authority
Phone: (+36-30) 180-2060