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Suspected cartel on the stationery market

On 6 September 2011, the Gazdasági Versenyhivatal (GVH - Hungarian competition authority) initiated a competition supervision procedure against BUDAPIÉRT Kereskedelmi Zrt., APIS Irodaszer Kereskedelmi és Szolgáltató Kft., I-COM Iroda - Kommunikáció Kereskedelmi és Szolgáltató Kft., BARÁT Papír Kereskedelmi és Szolgáltató Kft., PAPÍRBÁZIS Kereskedelmi és Szolgáltató Kft., ITV ALBATECH Irodagéptechnikai Kft., PAPIROSZ Kereskedelmi és Szolgáltató Kft., PAPIR-PONT Kereskedelmi és Szolgáltató Kft., REGAL Nyomdaipari és Kereskedelmi Kft. and MEDI-PRINT Nyomdatechnikai és Egészségügyi Szolgáltató Kft. The investigation was launched by unannounced inspections conducted by the GVH on the premises of several undertakings.

According to the available data, it is likely that BUDAPIÉRT Zrt., APIS Irodaszer Kft. and their contracting clients have entered into tripartite cooperation agreements since 2008 (up until the present day). Within the framework of these agreements, the undertakings presumably shared the market among themselves and agreed regularly on their pricing, rebating and marketing policies. The information provided to each other could presumably contribute to the elimination of competition between the undertakings concerned and the establishment of control over each other. The investigation targets every public tender and procurement procedure issued since 2008 up until the present day on the market of stationery.

The GVH suspects that the undertakings under investigation have presumably violated, by this conduct, the provisions of the Hungarian Competition Act with regard to the prohibition of restrictive agreements.

The GVH is empowered by the Competition Act to inspect premises without any preliminary notification. Pursuant to the provisions of the Competition Act, the inspection of premises is subject to the attainment in advance of judicial authorisation.

The initiation of the competition supervision proceeding does not mean that the undertakings in question actually committed the infringement. The proceeding seeks to clarify the facts and to thus prove that the presumed infringement has been committed. According to the Act these proceedings must be closed within 6 months, however, this time limit can be extended two times by further 6 months, depending on the complexity of the case.

Case number: Vj-43/2011

Budapest, 12 September 2011

Hungarian Competition Authority
Communication Group

Further information:
Hungarian Competition Authority
Mail: 1054 Budapest, V. ker. Alkotmány u.5.
Postal address: 1245 Budapest, 5. POB 1036
Tel: (+36-1) 472-8902