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BWB appeals against Cartel Court decision on territorial agreements in connection with the sale of industrial sugar

In the cartel case on territorial agreements in connection with the sale of industrial sugar, Vienna Higher Regional Court sitting as the Cartel Court issued its decision on 15 May 2019, dismissing BWB’s applications of 1 September 2010 in the first instance

In 2010 BWB had applied to the Court to have sugar producers fined or declared to be in breach of the law as a result of territorial agreements on the sale of industrial sugar products in Austria. Investigations had been initiated by BWB after it received information from one of the companies involved in the capacity of principal witness. The companies had agreed not to hinder each other in their respective territories by avoiding aggressive pricing (home-market principle).

The German Bundeskartellamt had imposed fines of some € 280 million on three major German sugar producers on 18 February 2014 because of the impact their conduct has had in Germany.

Due to this decision in Germany, the Austrian Cartel Court applied the principle "ne bis in idem" and refrained from declaring an infringement and imposing a fine.

BWB appealed to the Supreme Cartel Court against this decision. The decision is therefore not final.

In BWB’s view a basic understanding of the cooperation mechanisms among competition authorities according to Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 and, consequently, the effectiveness of the enforcement of Union law needs to be established.