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AFCA files application to impose fine on joiner/cabinetmaker

In the course of its investigations into the joinery/cabinetmaking industry, the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) filed its first application with the Cartel Court on 16 February 2022 to fine one of the investigated companies, Norer Tischlereigesellschaft m.b.H., on account of it having infringed § 1 para. 1 of the Austrian Cartel Act (KartG).

In 2018 the City of Vienna Court of Audit (StRH Wien) audited the alteration works carried out at the Krankenanstalt Rudolfstiftung hospital (now: Klinik Landstraße), which is managed by the Vienna Association of Hospitals (formerly Wiener Krankenanstaltenverbund, now Wiener Gesundheitsbund in German). In the course of its audit, the StRH Wien found the awarding of joinery contracts, for example, to have been irregular from a competition perspective.

Consequently, the AFCA carried out dawn raids at several companies engaged in the joinery/cabinetmaking business in 2019. The companies had allegedly carried out concerted action in relation to public contracts in particular in the health sector by dividing contracts among themselves through a system of mutual bogus offers.

AFCA’s investigations confirmed the anti-competitive conduct. The Authority therefore applied to impose a fine of EUR 69,000 on Norer Tischlereigesellschaft m.b.H.

Norer Tischlereigesellschaft m.b.H. made an immediate application for leniency during the dawn raid, subsequently cooperating fully with the AFCA to clarify the facts of the case. Owing to Norer’s full cooperation under the leniency programme, the AFCA applied to the Cartel Court for a significantly reduced fine.

In addition, as part of its cooperation with the AFCA, and with the involvement of the Federal Cartel Prosecutor, Norer Tischlereigesellschaft m.b.H has acknowledged the infringement for use in proceedings before the Cartel Court. This was also taken into account when setting the amount of the fine.

The AFCA will file further applications for the imposition of fines on other involved companies in the near future.