Romania’s Competition Council has slapped a EUR 15.8 million fine on six companies, accusing them of setting up two anti-competition deals for the sale of smart metering products and addition equipment in the electricity sector.
The biggest fine of EUR 5.9 million was received by Landis+Gyr AG. The other fined companies were Ecro (EUR 113,709), Electromagnetica (EUR 2.1 million), Elster Rometrics (EUR 2.4 million), Energobit (EUR 2.8 million) and Electrica (EUR 2.3 million).
The investigation started in 2015 by the competition watchdog revealed that AEM, Energobit, Elster Rometrics, Landis+Gyr and Ecro were engaged in talks to split between themselves the tenders organized by electricity distribution operators such as E.On, Enel, CEZ and Electrica.
“The companies established the way in which they were going to participate in tenders so as not to overlap and each of the participant to win supply contracts with minimal efforts,” said the Competition Council.
The anti-trust organization said the deals were carried out between November 27 2008 and September 30 2015. As a result of the fixing of participants in tenders, the acquisition prices for equipment were artificially inflated and the final costs were covered by consumers who paid the bills.
AEM applied for the clemency clause and received immunity from any fine as it supplied evidence in the investigation.