The company has cooperated fully with the AFCA. It has also acknowledged the infringement, resulting in the fine being reduced. The Cartel Court’s decision is final.
Cartel court proceedings against Josef Pirkl Gesellschaft m.b.H. u. Co. KG and Josef Pirkl Gesellschaft m.b.H. are still pending.
Proceedings against Fürst Möbel GmbH and Norer Tischlereigesellschaft m.b.H., both of which cooperated with the AFCA under the leniency programme, and Krumböck GmbH have been completed (see AFCA’s press releases of 17 May 2022, 17 June 2022 and 19 December 2022).
After the City of Vienna Court of Audit had drawn the AFCA’s attention to the matter, the Authority carried out dawn raids at several companies engaged in the joinery/cabinetmaking business in 2019. It was alleged that these companies had engaged in concerted practices in relation to public contracts in the health sector in particular.
Fines for cartels
The Austrian Federal Cartel Act prohibits any behaviour that prevents or distorts competition. This covers price fixing agreements or the division of markets or territories. At the AFCA’s request, the Cartel Court may impose fines of up to 10% of an entity’s total turnover generated in the preceding business year if that entity is found to have breached the rules banning cartels. Fines are assessed on the basis of the gravity and duration of the breach, the degree of fault, and the economic strength and cooperation of the company concerned.
In accordance with § 29 para. 1 no. 1 lit a of the Federal Cartel Act (KartG), the Cartel Court imposed a fine of EUR 100,000 for a single and continuous infringement of § 1 para. 1 KartG during the period from February 2011 up to and including May 2019; the infringement took the form of illegal price fixing, market divisions and the exchange of information with competitors, specifically by reaching agreement on which company would be the successful tenderer including submission of bogus offers in relation to calls for tenders for joinery/cabinetmaking contracts in Lower Austria and Vienna.
The company acknowledged the infringement and cooperated with the AFCA outside the leniency programme.
The decision (27 Kt 6/22t) is final.