On June 14 2010 the Competition Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina initiated proceedings against Komunalno Brcko, a public company set up by the district of Brcko, following a joint complaint by several providers of communal utility services (eg, waste disposal services and public space maintenance services). It had been alleged that Komunalno Brcko entered into restrictive agreements with the district, under which it took over the activities previously carried out by the complainants, notwithstanding public procurement procedures or other relevant legislative and administrative regulations. The complainants further alleged that these agreements, as well as the behaviour of the district, denied all other undertakings the possibility of offering their services on the relevant market and thereby allowed Komunalno Brcko to become, in effect, the exclusive supplier of communal utility services.

In response, Komunalno Brcko stated that it was established by a legal act of higher legal force than those pertaining to public procurement and other relevant legislative and administrative regulations. It further stated that it had not yet taken over the performance of some of those activities due to technical constraints, and thus had concluded cooperation agreements with the complainants which have since expired, but have not been renewed due to their persistent complaints.

In its decision dated February 11 2011, the council confirmed the arguments of Komunalno Brcko and decided that it had not concluded a restrictive agreement with the district. The council also considered the complainant's claim that it had a duty to prevent or limit monopoly on the market. The council held that that the attainment of a monopoly position was not illegal, as such, but merely constitutes abuse.

In a separate decision, on February 9 2011 the council issued an opinion regarding a request lodged by Akt Online, a company active in providing telecommunications services and an alternative provider of fixed-line telephone services. Akt Online concluded an interconnection agreement with BH Telecom – the incumbent telecommunications operator – which according to Akt Online contained interconnection prices which were higher than prices offered to international operators, as they contained additional 'direct connection costs' and thus were, in Akt Online's view, anti-competitive. In its request, Akt Online asked the council to assess the competitiveness of interconnection prices.

The council decided to open investigative proceedings as it was unable to decide upon the request without an investigation and had, in the mean time, received a request to open investigative proceedings by Akt Online.

For further information on this topic please contact Srdjana Petronijević at Moravcevic Vojnovic Zdravkovic in cooperation with Schoenherr by telephone (+381 11 320 26 00), fax (+381 11 320 26 10) or email ([email protected]).