AdC confirms dawn raids on port services providers for suspected cartel conduct

Press Release 14 /2015
  AdC confirms dawn raids on port services providers for suspected cartel conduct
The Portuguese Competition Authority (Autoridade da Concorrência – AdC) confirms that on July 13 and 14 undertook unannounced inspections at seven premises of undertakings located in the ports of Lisbon, Setúbal, Sines and Viana do Castelo, in the context of an antitrust investigation for suspected cartel conduct.
The unannounced inspections have been triggered by the finding of indicia of a possible market sharing cartel in the port services sector, in breach of the Competition Law and of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
The fight against cartels continues to be a top priority for the AdC, taking into account the damages cartels inevitably cause to consumers and businesses, leading to higher prices, restricted output and reduced quality of goods and services. Companies that engage in anticompetitive behavior not only restrict consumer welfare, but also become more vulnerable by weakening their own competitiveness, thus undermining the economy as a whole.
The raid has been authorized by the Public Prosecutor and the Criminal Court, at the AdC´s request.
Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step into suspected anticompetitive practices. The fact that the AdC carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behavior nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.
The normal operation of the companies involved has not been impacted by the AdC’s inspections.
The Portuguese Competition Law establishes a leniency regime for companies wishing to disclose their participation in an anticompetitive agreement or concerted practice, by providing the AdC with information and evidence thereof.