The Commission for the Protection of Competition (hereinafter the “CPC”), at its meeting convened on 15 February 2013, evaluated all the evidence before it and unanimously decided that an infringement of section 6(2) of the Protection of Competition Law (L. 13(I)/2008) (hereinafter the “Law”) was constituted by Fereos Ltd.
The subject of the case was the complaint dated 18 January 2006 filed by Andros Kiosk Ltd regarding the possible infringement of Fereos Ltd of the Protection of Competition Law 207/89, as applicable at the time.
On 21 February 2008, as a result of the decision of the Supreme Court in the administrative recourse no. 3902 (CYTA and Commission for the Protection of Competition), the CPC, being fully compliant with the judgment of the Supreme Court, revoked its previous decisions which were considered as having been taken by a non-legally structured body, and decided upon the ab initio investigation of the complaint.
On 23 April 2012, the CPC examined the handling of the complaint under its new composition according to its appointment by the Council of Ministers, as its relevant decision dated 20th December 2011.
The CPC, in light of the acceptance to annul its decision for which an application for annulment was pending at the Supreme Court of Cyprus, as a result of the decision of the Supreme Court in appeals no. 1544/09, 1545/09, 1596/09 and 1601/09 (ExxonMobil Cyprus Ltd etc. and the Commission for the Protection of Competition), in which it was considered that the appointment of the Chairman of the CPC was not legal, decided to re-examine the complaint since following an annulling decision, the action disappears and the administration is obliged to restore the situation to what it was before the action which was annulled, was issued.
The CPC, with its decision dated 15 February 2013, unanimously reached the conclusion that Fereos Ltd suddenly and unjustifiably terminated its long-term relationship of financial dependence with Andros Kiosk Ltd, whilst it was impossible for Andros Kiosk Ltd to find equivalent alternative solutions from other business choices, as a result of the behaviour of Fereos Ltd, which led Andros Kiosk Ltd to irreparable damage since it had relied on the agreements of provision which it had attained with Fereos Ltd for the proper operation of its business.
As a result of the behaviour portrayed by Fereos Ltd, the CPC unanimously held that Fereos Ltd abused its relationship of financial dependence with Andros Kiosk Ltd, contrary to section 6(2) of the Law.
The CPC, in light of the written submissions of Fereos Ltd and having taken into account the importance and duration, as well as the nature and seriousness of the infringement, and any mitigating or aggravating conditions, unanimously decided according to the procedures of sections 24(a)(i) and 42(1) of the Law, regarding the amount of the administrative fine.
The CPC, in examining the amount of the fine, further noted the following:
a) Fereos Ltd had not committed in the past any other confirmed infringements of the Law.
b) Fereos Ltd, following the issue of the CPC’s decision in May 2009, immediately proceeded to implement the decision and commenced to cooperate with Andros Kiosk Ltd.
c) The facts prove that this cooperation is still intact.
d) Fereos Ltd suddenly and unjustifiably terminated the long-term relationship of financial dependence with Andros Kiosk Ltd.
e) It was impossible for Andros Kiosk Ltd to find other equivalent alternative solutions from other business choices.
Therefore, the CPC, acting according to section 24(a)(i) of the Law regarding the established infringement of section 6(2) of the Law, unanimously thought as proper and fair under the circumstances, to impose an administrative fine upon Fereos Ltd amounting to €204.575.
The complete text of the decision may be found at the official website of the CPC (www.competition.gov.cy).