Lisbon Court of Appeal upholds decision of the AdC against envelope cartel

Press Release 16/2017
 
Lisbon Court of Appeal upholds decision of the AdC against envelope cartel
 
The Lisbon Court of Appeal (Tribunal da Relação - TRL) upheld the Autoridade da Concorrência’s (AdC) decision of November 2016 against Firmo Papéis e Papelarias, S.A. for taking part in a five ­member cartel of paper envelope producers and distributors.
 
The TRL confirmed the AdC's decision against Firmo Papéis e Papelarias, S.A. and the position of the Competition, Regulation and Supervision Court (Tribunal da Concorrência, Regulação e Supervisão - TCRS), which ruled that the appellant took part in the cartel of paper envelope producers and distributors. It states that due to "the nature of the infringement, the court considers it to be a most serious violation, as it directly impedes the maintenance of effective competition in the referred markets".
 
The investigation undertaken by the AdC revealed that between 2007 e 2010 five companies concerted their behaviour in the Portuguese market of paper envelopes. The infringers allocated clients among them and fixed prices, thereby restricting and distorting competition in tenders launched by customers.

More specifically, the companies participating in the cartel, which together account for 60% of the market, coordinated their tender proposals by aligning their bidding price in order to artificially determine the winner of the tender.
 
The companies Copidata, S.A. and Tompla – Indústria Internacional do Envelope, Lda. (within the same economic group) were granted immunity from the fine for revealing the existence of the cartel and providing sufficient information that enabled the AdC to prove the cartel infringement.

Papelaria Fernandes was also sanctioned, but the absence of business turnover prevented the setting of a fine.

A fifth company had also been fined €440 thousand by the AdC in May 2016 for participating in the same cartel.
 
The TCRS reduced the fine of €160 thousand imposed by the AdC on Firmo Papéis e Papelarias S.A. to €50 thousand, which the TRL has now confirmed.
 
The fight against cartels is the top priority of the AdC, considering the losses that they invariably cause to consumers and businesses, leading to higher prices and reduced quality and variety of goods and services. The infringement of competition rules not only reduces consumer welfare, but also weakens the companies´ competitiveness, undermining the economy as a whole.
 17 October 2017