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Cartel Court fines BB Research Affairs GmbH and Beinschab Business GmbH EUR 6,000

On 9 March 2023, the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) applied to the Cartel Court for an appropriate fine to be imposed on the companies BB Research Affairs GmbH and Beinschab Business GmbH for price fixing and concerted practices in relation to the award of contracts for market research studies.

The Cartel Court considered their significant contribution to clarifying the case a mitigating factor when setting the fine, also taking account of their current economic strength. In light of the Court’s view that an excessively high fine would threaten the companies’ continued existence and be difficult for them to afford, the fine was set at EUR 6,000. The decision is final.

Affected business and affected period

The cartel agreements concerned the business of market research studies during the period from April 2019 to June 2021.

AFCA investigations

AFCA’s investigations revealed that the companies had entered into anti-competitive arrangements in advance of the award of a total of five contracts for market research studies for one public and two private clients. According to our findings, the companies coordinated their bids and bid prices in order to induce clients to accept a specific bid, namely the bid submitted by KARMASIN RESEARCH & IDENTITY GMBH. Subsequently, BB Research Affairs GmbH carried out parts of some of the contracts as a subcontractor.

As part of our ongoing cooperation, law enforcement agencies regularly provide the AFCA with factual information needed to prosecute violations of cartel law. Conversely, the AFCA fulfils its duty to report potential criminal offences, in many cases working closely with the Central Public Prosecutor for Economic Crime and Corruption (WKStA) and the Federal Bureau of Anti-Corruption (BAK).

Further proceedings against the companies KARMASIN RESEARCH & IDENTITY GMBH and Edeltraud Geppel-Mikes are currently pending at the Cartel Court.