Slovenian Competition Protection Agency fines the media company PRO PLUS
Slovenian Competition Protection Agency (CPA) has imposed a fine of nearly 5 million EUR for abuse of dominant position on company PRO PLUS, a leading broadcasting and internet media company in Slovenia. The fine is the highest ever imposed for breaking competition rules in Slovenia.
On 24 April 2013 CPA issued a decision finding PRO PLUS has abused its dominant position on the market for television advertising airtime on the territory of the Republic of Slovenia as well as on Internal Market by concluding exclusive dealing arrangements with advertisers and granting conditional rebates with loyalty – inducing effects and in particular with:
- requiring individual advertisers to devote their entire advertising budget exclusively to PRO PLUS;
- granting a high level of discount as a reward for exclusivity and therefore exclude competitors from the advertising market or prevent them access to the market and prevent their development accordingly
CPA concluded in its decision that the above described actions represent infringement of Article 9 of the Prevention of Restriction of Competition Act (ZPOmK-1) as well as Article 102 of TFEU.
Operative part of the decision is available on the following link:
With the delivery of decision to the party the administrative procedure has been finalized and furthermore, after the appeal of PRO PLUS, the Supreme Court has entirely upheld the decision of CPA in December 2013.
CPA has conducted a separate minor offences procedure and issued on 21 July 2014 a minor offence decision imposing PRO PLUS a fine for the abuse of dominant position of nearly 5 million EUR.
When determining the level of fine, CPA considered the gravity and duration of the infringement i.e. the abuse of dominant position of PRO PLUS which actually lasted more than ten years, since 1 January 2003 until the issuing of administrative decision by CPA. CPA has also taken into account mitigating circumstances brought by PRO PLUS as the company has so far never been sanctioned for the breach of competition law.
Considering the type of offence, a relatively large impact on the market with PRO PLUS having over 5O % of market share, the geographic dimension, the leading position and strong impact of PRO PLUS on the market and the actual duration of offence, CPA has declared the offence as a hard core restriction and grave breach of competition rules.
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