Competition: Commission investigates whether the Czech railway incumbent České dráhy has abused its dominant position by predatory pricing on a train route in Czech Republic

On 10 November 2016, the Commission opened an investigation to assess whether the Czech railway incumbent, České dráhy ("ČD"), has charged prices below costs with the aim of shutting out competition in rail passenger transport services, in breach of competition rules. The opening of an investigation follows a complaint, which was followed by a dawn raid at ČD's premises in April 2016.

ČD is the main railway operator in the Czech Republic, and until 2011 it was the only rail company active on the Prague-Ostrava route. After the market entries of competing rail passenger companies RegioJet in 2011 and LEO Express in 2012 on the Prague-Ostrava route, ČD significantly decreased passenger prices on the route. The Commission has concerns that ČD may have lowered its prices so much that it could not cover the costs of the service. Such practices can hinder competitors from remaining in the market to the detriment of passengers.

There is no legal deadline to complete inquiries into anti-competitive conduct. The duration of an abuse of dominance investigation depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of the case, the extent to which the undertaking concerned cooperates with the Commission and the exercise of the rights of defense. Source: Commission Press Release 10/11/2016

Competition (Sweden): Swedish Competition Authority discontinues its investigation of alleged abuse of dominance on the market for dairy products

On 15 November 2016, the Swedish Competition Authority ("SCA") announced that it will discontinue its investigation of alleged abuse of dominance by Arla Foods AB ("Arla") on the market for dairy products.

In October 2015, the SCA received several indications from the market alleging that Arla was granting certain rebates to retailers and that Arla would have made payments to retailers in return for exclusivity. According to these indications distributors competing with Arla could allegedly not establish new supplier agreements with the retailers in question and were forced to terminate existing agreements.

According to the SCA, its investigation has not shown that the rebates granted by Arla would lead to foreclosure of competition. Moreover, the allegation that Arla has paid retail stores in order to receive exclusive supplier agreements is not supported. Accordingly, the SCA has found no reasons to continue its investigation or review in more detail the compatibility of Arla's behavior with competition law. Source: Swedish Competition Authority Press Release 15/11/2016 (in Swedish) and Swedish Competition Authority Decision 14/11/2016, Dnr 663/2015 (in Swedish)