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Welding technology cartel: Cartel Court fines Haberkorn EUR 870,000 at AFCA’s request

The Cartel Court has imposed a fine of EUR 870,000 on Haberkorn GmbH and Haberkorn Holding AG (hereinafter referred to jointly as “Haberkorn”) for illegal agreements on resale prices, market divisions and the prohibition of competition, as well as anti-competitive concerted practices. The continuous infringement covered the period from 9 June 2008 to 30 November 2021.

On 27 October 2023, the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) filed an application for a fine with the Cartel Court. The Cartel Court subsequently fined the company for cartel law infringements, taking the form of price fixing, market divisions and prohibitions of competition, agreed with Fronius International GmbH (“Fronius”) by means of distribution agreements. In addition, further illegal concerted practices occurred at the distribution level between Haberkorn, Fronius and Zultner (a practice of bogus offers by Fronius and Zultner Metall GmbH and Zultner Immobilien und Beteiligungs GmbH – hereinafter referred to jointly as “Zultner”). The three companies repeatedly exchanged detailed information on the terms of their offers including prices during the order initiation process and made bogus offers, having done so since at least 2011. The AFCA filed the applications to have the named companies fined in October 2023 (press release of 30 October 2023).

Haberkorn voluntarily acknowledged the infringement and did not contest the facts of the case. The decision is final.


The AFCA received information – via its anonymous whistleblowing system – regarding the distribution agreements that the company Haberkorn had concluded with its distribution partners Fronius and Zultner, and initiated investigations. The companies set rules for price coordination, market divisions and illegal prohibitions of competition spanning many years. Fronius applied to the AFCA for leniency in July 2021 and has since cooperated continuously and fully (see press release of 4 July 2023).

The company

Haberkorn sells technical products, services, lubricants and personal protective equipment for industrial use and the construction sector. The company is headquartered in Wolfurt, Vorarlberg, and has branches all over Austria.