The Commission for the Protection of Competition (hereinafter ‘the CPC’) on its meeting convened on 29 August 2012, having evaluated all the evidence before it, unanimously concluded that the actions and/or omissions of Linde-Hadjikyriakos Gas Ltd during the application of its practice of imposing daily rent on cylinders of its ownership, which was adopted on October 2008 up until the last quarter of 2010, at which time Linde-Hadjikyriakos Gas Ltd had fully completed the update of its software system, constitute an abuse of its dominant position in the market, in violation of section 6(1)(c) of the Protection of Competition Law L.13(I)/2008 (hereinafter ‘the Law’).
The CPC, on the basis of all the evidence before it, did not accept that the justification brought forth by Linde-Hadjikyriakos Gas Ltd, namely that this was due to the incorrect and untimely update of its software system, constituted an objective justification. As a consequence, Linde-Hadjikyriakos Gas Ltd treated its customers in a discretionary way, by imposing a daily rent only to some of its customers, and not to all, depending on whether its software was updated or not. In this case, Andreas & Panikos Mappas Ltd has paid a signinficant amount of money for the use of cylinders, due to the considerable number of cylinders the company uses, whilst other companies have not paid any amount as daily rent for the cylinders they were using, because of the insufficient and/or inadequate update of the software system of Linde-Hadjikyriakos Gas Ltd.
Therefore, the CPC imposed on Linde-Hadjikyriakos Gas Ltd, based on section 24(a)(i) of the Law, an administrative fine of €81.085 (Eighty One Thousand and Eighty Five Euro) taking into account, amongst other factors, the special responsibility of Linde-Hadjikyriakos Gas Ltd as the company having the monopoly at the material time under investigation.