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Submetering cartel: AFCA files another application with Cartel Court

In the course of its investigations into the submetering industry, the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) filed an application with the Cartel Court on 22 July 2022 to find that the Tyrolean company Techem Messtechnik GmbH (“Techem”) infringed Article 101(1) TFEU and § 1 para. 1 of the Austrian Cartel Act (KartG).

Techem was the first company to apply for leniency, subsequently extensively cooperating with the AFCA and enabling the Authority to fully clarify the facts of the case. Specifically, Techem was the first company to submit information and evidence that enabled the AFCA to directly file a justified application with the Cartel Court for the ordering of dawn raids on account of an alleged infringement (cf. § 11b para. 1 no. 3 lit a in conjunction with § 12 para. 1 of the Competition Act – WettbG). The AFCA therefore refrained from imposing a fine on Techem, only applying for a finding that it had participated in the cartel.

The alleged anti-competitive conduct and concerted practices in which Techem participated from July 2004 up to and including February 2019 concerned the submetering market in Austria. In the course of regular meetings organised by an industry association as well as during individual contacts, Techem was involved in the exchange and coordination of market-related information such as prices, fees and other business practices.

With regard to ista Österreich GmbH, which is also in the leniency programme, the AFCA filed an application for a reduced fine of EUR 2.2 million on 8 February 2022 (see AFCA’s press release of 9 February 2022).

The AFCA will file an application relating to another company in the near future.