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PRESS RELEASE: The Administrative Court has upheld the decision of the Commission for the Protection of Competition and the fine of €2.100.000 imposed on the Pancyprian Organization of Cattle Farmers (POCF) Public Ltd for infringements of the Protection of Competition Law of 2008.
13/10/2021


The Administrative Court of the Republic of Cyprus has, by its decision no. 65/2015 dated 24/09/2021, upheld the decision of the Commission for the Protection of Competition (hereinafter “the Commission”) no. 42/2014 dated 17/10/2014, by which the Commission imposed a fine of €2.100.000 on the Pancyprian Organization of Cattle Farmers (POCF) Public Ltd (hereinafter “POCF”) for infringements of articles 3(1)(a) and 3(1)(b) and 6(1)(a) of the Protection of Competition Law of 2008 (hereinafter “the Law”).

The Court has ruled that the Commission’s decision in the ex-officio investigation against the Pancyprian Organisation of Cattle Farmers (POCF) Public Ltd, was the result of a full and duly conducted investigation and that the Commission had responded satisfactorily to all the claims submitted by POCF, thus upholding the said decision.

The decision concerned the Commission’s ex-officio investigation against the Pancyprian Organisation of Cattle Farmers (POCF) Public Ltd for the alleged infringement of competition law, during the period 01/01/2009 until 28/05/2012, through decisions and/or practices and/or behaviors on the part of POCF in relation to the sale/ supply of raw cow milk, which was likely to lead to prevent, distort and restrict competition.

By its decision, the Commission concluded that the POCF infringed

(i) Section 3(1)(a) of the Law by entering into exclusive supply contracts for raw cow milk with cattle farmers, members of the POCF, that included specific terms for determining the purchase prices of raw cow milk;

(ii) Section 3(1)(b) of the Law by entering into exclusive supply contracts for raw cow milk with cattle farmers/members of the POCF that included exclusivity clauses and non-compete obligations;

(iii) Section 3(1)(b) of the Law by the implementation of the measure of “Stable Milk Production”; and

(iv) Section 6(1)(a) of the Law, as a dominant undertaking on the relevant market by imposing excessive and/or unfair prices for raw cow milk.

The Commission with its decision no. 42/2014 ordered the POCF to end the above infringements and imposed administrative fines arising to €2,100,000 as follows:

• An administrative fine of €600.000, regarding the infringement of Section 3(1)(a) of the Law.

• An administrative fine of €600.000, regarding the infringement of Section 3(1)(b) of the Law concerning the enforcement of exclusivity clauses and non-compete obligations.

• An administrative fine of €100.000 regarding the infringement of Section 3(1)(b) of the Law concerning the implementation of the measure of “Stable Milk Production”.

• An administrative fine of €800.000, regarding the infringement of Section 6(1)(a) of the Law.


COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF COMPETITION








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