ALF offers commitments to the AdC to eliminate the restrictive potential of the information exchange system in the market for specialized credit

​Press Release 18/2017
 
ALF offers commitments to the AdC to eliminate the restrictive potential of the information exchange system in the market for specialized credit
 
Autoridade da Concorrência (AdC) opened proceedings against ALF – Associação Portuguesa de Leasing, Factoring e Renting (ALF) – the Portuguese Association of specialised consumer credit providers - and its associated members, for alleged infringements of the competition rules, on April 23rd, 2015.
 
The investigation carried out revealed the existence of a system for the exchange of sensitive strategic information related to products and services in the markets for leasing, factoring and renting, directly promoted by ALF, involving associated companies.
 
Considering the type of information, its age, the level of disaggregation and the target of the information exchanged, the AdC considers, on a preliminary basis, that the information exchange system institutionalized by ALF could be likely to promote a restrictive effect on competition, through the likely reduction of uncertainty in the market, allowing participants to act in the possession of sensitive information of its competitors, as well as frequently monitor their strategic behaviour.
 
In order to respond to the competition concerns expressed by the AdC, ALF presented the following set of commitments:
  1. Obligation not to disclose to its members individualized data with an age of less than six months in the framework of the institutionalised system for the exchange of information;
  2. Provision of access to such data to associated companies not participating in the collection and submission of information after a period of three months from the disclosure of information to associated companies participating in the institutionalized information exchange system, and through ALF’s website;
  3. Provision of access to such data to any potential new entrants who wish to analyse their entry into any of the sectors of activity in which ALF members are present, after a period of six months from disclosure of information to the members participating in the institutionalized information exchange system; and
  4. Amending the “Manual of Procedures of the Statistic System of ALF” in line with the commitments identified above, and its publication on ALF’s official website, followed by the reporting to the associated undertakings of the approval of amendments to the information exchange system resulting from the commitments.
 
Overall, the commitments undertaken by ALF increase the age of the information exchanged between the associated undertakings, reducing their strategic value and the restrictive potential of the exchange of information.
 
According to Law n.º 19/2012, of 8 may (Competition Law), the Authority may accept the commitments offered by the undertakings at stake in the proceedings, when it considers that the commitments offered are likely to eliminate the negative effects of the investigated practices on competition.
ALF is obliged to comply with the set of commitments now offered to the AdC, under the Authority’s supervision.
 
The commitments offered by ALF are, as from today, subject to public consultation for a period of 20 working days.
Following the public consultation, a final decision will be adopted in which the AdC will take into account the comments presented by interested third parties.
The results of the public consultation will be published on the Authority’s official website.
 
ALF, in its capacity as an association of companies, is subject to the application of the Competition Law, and its decisions and / or initiatives may raise the scrutiny of the Competition Authority whenever these are likely to interfere with the free play of competition.
  26 October 2017