On the 19th of January, there has been yet another competition infringement investigation (ex officio) by the Serbian Commission for the Protection of the Competition, this time against VAILLANT doo Beograd (Vaillant) regarding the market of gas boilers!
The Commission analysed the available data on the prices of gas boilers of the “Vaillant” and “Protherm” brands in Serbia. After conducted analyses and a dawn raid carried out, the Commission discovered that the retail prices on retailers’ websites (authorized distributors) were identical both among all the analysed retailers and against the prices from the price list for January 2023 available on the website of the Vaillant (with the difference of less than RSD 1).
Namely, as Vaillant is a wholesaler, which is not present in a retail market in which the analysed retailers are present and as the retailers of the brand “Vaillant” are also retailers of the brand “Protherm”, the Commission has subsequently concluded that these actions represent restrictive agreements i.e., that the Vaillant imposed resale prices over products of the brands “Vaillant” and “Protherm” to its retailers.
By analysing and collecting publicly available data on retail prices of products and services of market participants, the Commission continues with its Q4 2022 practice in 2023, this time on the gas boilers market. Following up on the proceeding against Apcom CE and APCOM D.O.O. BEOGRAD, which we covered in a recent JPM article the practice shows that the Commission continues to gravely focus on RPM and that the Commission will not be reluctant to pursue more cases.
Ultimately, we can conclude that it is extremely important for businesses to be familiar with the basic competition rules i.e., they should be able to recognize situations that could put them and the company at risk and take all precautionary measures to minimize the possibility of breach of competition regulations. We will continue to monitor the practice of the Commission in the future.