Competition Tribunal confirms conviction of printers’ cartel

Press Release 03/2014

Competition Tribunal confirms conviction of printers’ cartel

The Competition, Regulation and Supervision Tribunal confirmed the sentence issued by the Competition Authority against printing companies operating in the market for business forms for cartel infringements carried out by their directors and former-directors, who were also convicted individually.

In December 2012, the Competition Authority convicted the firms Contiforme - Soluções Gráficas Integradas, Copidata, Formato - Formulários Múltiplos Comerciais and Litho Formas Portuguesa - Impressos Contínuos e Múltiplos for combining to fix prices and share customers in the national market for business forms, during the period from 2001 to 2010.

The Competition Authority considered that the companies infringed Article 4 of Law 18/2003, of 11 June, by establishing practices aimed at preventing, restricting or significantly distorting competition.

The Competition Authority also convicted three members of the management boards of the companies at the material time, on an individual basis, for having knowledge of the restrictive practices and refraining from preventing them.

The informant company, Copidata, was dispensed from payment of the fine, having complied with the conditions set out to that effect in the Legal Framework for Leniency.

Following the challenge of the Competition Authority’s decision by the defendants, the Tribunal considered proved the practices provided for in Article 9.1 of Law 19/2012, of 8 May, considering the new Competition Law to be the regime globally more favourable to each of the defendants.

Accordingly, the Tribunal reduced the fines previously determined by the Competition Authority and applied to the defendant Contiforme – Soluções Gráficas Integradas, S.A. a fine of 250,000 euros, to Formato – Formulários Múltiplos Comerciais, S.A. a fine of 55,000 euros and to Litho Formas Portuguesa – Impressos Contínuos e Múltiplos, S.A. a fine of 150,000 euros.

In its judgment, dated 7 March, the Tribunal also reduced the fines applied individually to the directors of the companies to a total amount of around 4,300 euros.
This sentence is subject to appeal to the Court of Appeal of Lisbon.

11 March 2014