Finland: Nearly EUR 1,9 million in penalty payments imposed on 6 companies operating in Turku public transport
The joint tenders eliminated competition between the companies, which was a serious violation of the Competition Act.
On 27 September 2021, FCCA proposed that the Market Court impose penalties totalling EUR 1 894 844 on Jalon Liikenne Oy, Lehtisen Linja Oy, Linjaliikenne Muurinen Oy, Linjaliikenne Nyholm Oy, Savonlinja Oy, Turun Citybus Oy and the joint venture owned by some of these companies, LS-Liikennelinjat Oy.
The companies had submitted joint tenders in breach of the Competition Act in three tendering processes for Föli public transport services in 2013, 2014 and 2016. Föli operates local and subregional public transport services in the areas of Turku, Kaarina, Raisio, Naantali, Lieto and Rusko municipalities. The annual value of these services amounts to around EUR 50 million.
Through their cooperation, the companies have eliminated all competition between them in these tendering processes.
In practice, there was no price competition between the companies participating in the joint tender in these tendering processes, and they divided the operation of the transport services for which a contract was awarded to them among themselves following a pre-agreed plan.
The FCCA finds that, assessed as a whole, this involved serious restrictions on competition.
The violations took place during a period in which the public transport market was being opened up for competition. As a result, it is likely that the contracting entity has received fewer competing tenders in the tendering processes in question than it would otherwise have done.
Lack of competition in competitive tendering harms the contracting entity and end customers, as this means that the companies have less incentive to offer lower prices and better products and service. ■