Romania’s Competition Council, the institution that monitors if the local competition law is respected, finalized 18 investigations last year and issued fines totaling some EUR 27.3 million.
The fines were thus 60% higher than in 2016, according to the Competition Council’s annual report.
Most of the 18 investigations finalized last year targeted important sectors, such as energy, public tenders, liberal professions (notary and financial audit services), and transports (taxi).
A total of 156 companies were sanctioned, 33 of which admitted to breaking the law and benefitted from lower fines. Moreover, one company applied for the Council’s clemency program and provided proof of anticompetition deals in exchange for immunity.
The biggest fine, worth some EUR 15.8 million, was received by six companies that formed a cartel on the electricity meter market.
Last year, the Competition Council also started 19 new investigations on possible breaches of the competition law. The number of ongoing investigations at the end of 2017 thus reached 36.
The watchdog also started four new sectorial investigations targeting fuel retail, the distribution of salt for snow removal, public lighting, and water and sewage services. Four sectorial investigations were finalized in 2017.
The Competition Council plans to launch the Fuel Price Monitor and to expand the Food Price Monitor to a national level by the end of this year, otherwise it will lose financing for these projects.