Commission for Protection of Competition
CPC Releases Serbian Translation of the OECD Guidelines for Fighting Bid Rigging in Public Procurement, Recommendation of the OCED Council on Fighting Bid Rigging in Public Procurement

kzkIn cooperation with the Italian partners under the Twinning project “Further Development of Protection of Competition in Serbia”, the Commission for Protection of Competition translated into Serbian the OECD Guidelines for Fighting Bid Rigging in Public Procurement.

The Guidelines offer a comprehensive overview of potential strategies employed by contracting authorities to prevent bid rigging by one or more bidders.

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Commission Imposes Fine of RSD 60 million for Bid-Rigging in Public Procurements

kzkThe Commission for Protection of Competition has established that companies Original doo Beograd, Mikops doo Niš, Birolinija doo Beograd, Biro Print Sistemi doo Beograd, Dikti Line doo, Birodeveloping doo Niš, Birotehnika doo, Jagodina, and Konica Minolta Poslovna Rešenja SE doo Beograd have coordinated their participation in public and other procurement procedures. In such manner, it is found that said companies have infringed competition law by entering into a prohibited restrictive agreement that directly or indirectly sets the selling prices or other conditions of trade, which has as its object the restriction and prevention of competition (Article 10(2/1) of the Law on Protection of Competition).

The Commission detected this collusion between competitors with the assistance from one of the participants to the prohibited agreement, providing evidence to the Commission of the concluded agreement, thus securing immunity from fines under the Leniency policy implemented by the Commission.

Given that collusions of this kind are hard to detect, the Commission uses this opportunity to reiterate the invitation to all the parties to such agreements to approach and provide evidence to the Commission and in that manner assist in detecting such agreements, and in return secure the immunity from fines for their anticompetitive behaviors, as defined in the provisions of Article 69 of the Law on Protection of Competition.

„Competition and Public Procurements” Seminar Held

kzkThe Commission for Protection of Competition and the Italian Competition Authority, Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, organized a five-day seminar “Competition and Public Procurements” as partners in implementing the EU-funded Twinning project “Further Development of Protection of Competition in Serbia”.

At the event held at the Palace of Serbia marking the formal opening of the seminar, keynote addresses were given by Aleksandra Tomić, Chair of the Committee on Finance, State Budget and Control of Public Spending of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Miloje Obradović, President of the Commission for Protection of Competition, Dejan Damnjanović, Deputy Director of the Anticorruption Agency, and Stefan Otašević from the Public Procurement Office.

Chair of the Assembly’s Committee Aleksandra Tomić said that independent institutions, judiciary, and the public must have control over public procurements. “In each country, the state taken individually is the largest purchaser and the biggest economic player, while the public procurements are one of the most important budget expenditure items, and that is why it’s imperative to monitor how the taxpayers’ money is spent”, underlined Chair Tomić, pointing out that public tenders may be suitable for inappropriate spending of public funds by bid-rigging in every country. So it’s important, she added, that all stakeholders participate in adopting legislation regulating the field in order to avoid any “legal loopholes”.

President of the Commission for Protection of Competition Miloje Obradović said that according to the Law on Protection of Competition, rigged or fictitious bids in public procurements are among the most serious violations of competition – the so-called cartel agreements.

“The Commission’s competence relating to public procurement procedures exists only when bidders enter into a prohibited agreement on bid submission or suppression schemes in response to a call for tenders published by the ordering party”, said Obradović and reminded the audience that the dawn raid system and leniency program are launched in Serbia, proving to be the most efficient tools in detecting cartels. As an added value, the Commission President mentioned the need to improve the modalities of association and cooperation between national institutions in Serbia in charge of public procurements and competition.

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Instituted Proceedings against Fortenova Grupa from Zagreb

kzkThe Commission for Protection of Competition has instituted proceedings ex officio against company Fortenova Grupa d.d. Zagreb in order to investigate a merger implemented without antitrust clearance. There are reasonable grounds to believe that Fortenova Grupa d.d. Zagreb has acquired control over companies Frikom d.o.o. Beograd, Dijamant a.d. Zrenjanin, Mivela Mg, PIK Vrbovec d.o.o. Beograd, Kikindski mlin and other companies established in the Republic of Serbia, operating within the Agrokor group.

In the proceedings concerned, the Commission will investigate whether the provisions of the Law on Protection of Competition are contravened in the specific circumstances of this case, who exercises the control over company Fortenova Grupa, as well as the permissibility of this concentration within the meaning of Article 19 of the Law. The Commission will also establish material facts, evidence and other elements that will represent the basis for its decision making in terms of potential antitrust measures to be specified, that is, deconcentration measures.

The Law stipulates that concentrations of undertakings are permitted, unless they significantly restrict, distort, or prevent competition in the market of the Republic of Serbia or its part, and especially if that restriction, distortion, or prevention is the result of creating or strengthening of dominance.

The conclusion which initiated the proceedings concerned invites all persons in possession of information, documents or other relevant facts that could contribute to the accurate fact-finding in this proceeding to forthwith submit said evidence to the Commission for Protection of Competition to the address 25/IV Savska St., Belgrade.