Portuguese and Spanish Competition Authorities conduct unannounced inspections for possible anti-competitive behavior in Portugal and Spain

Press release 09/2021
 
Portuguese and Spanish Competition Authorities conduct unannounced inspections for possible anti-competitive behavior in Portugal and Spain
 
The Portuguese Competition Authority (AdC) and the Spanish CNMC carried out simultaneous unannounced inspections at companies providing commercial and financial information services on businesses.
 
Both authorities are investigating possible market sharing and price fixing agreements regarding those services.
 
The AdC is investigating possible restrictions of competition in the form of agreements and concerted practices to share markets and clients and to fix the selling prices and discounts applicable to subscriptions to commercial and financial information products about companies.
 
This investigation is being conducted by the AdC and the CNMC in parallel, respectively in Portugal and Spain, with both authorities cooperating within the European Competition Network (ECN), together with the European Commission.  As part of this cooperation, the AdC and the CNMC conducted simultaneous unannounced inspections at the headquarters of the companies under investigation in their respective territories.
 
The unannounced inspections were carried out by the AdC between June 2 and 8, in the Lisbon region, in two locations, with the authorization of the Public Prosecutor's Office and with the monitoring of the Public Security Police (PSP).
 
Such inspections are a preliminary step in the investigation process. As such, they do not prejudge the outcome of the investigation nor the culpability of the companies under investigation.
 
The AdC has decreed secrecy for this proceeding in order to preserve the interests of the investigation.
 
Very serious infringements
Agreements between competitors constitute a very serious infringement of Competition Law, as they create conditions in a given market which do not correspond to normal conditions, namely by reducing autonomous and independent behavior by companies.
 
The investigation of cartels is one of the AdC's priorities, given the seriousness of their consequences for markets and consumers. To this end, the AdC’s Leniency Program establishes the legal regime for a waiver or reduction of fines.
 
The law sets out conditions under which a company may obtain a full fine immunity (Article 77 of the Portuguese Competition Law) or a reduction of up to 50% of the fine applicable to the infringement in question (Article 78 of the Portuguese Competition Law).
June 21, 2021