On the 24th of September 2019, two Danish companies Bjerregaard Sikkerhed A/S and Bacher Logistics A/S were acquitted by the Danish Competition Authority (DCCA) of illegally coordinating prices and other terms.
The case stems from an interministerial procurement of five framework agreements concerning the delivery of workwear to a number of state institutions. The two companies in question had in each of their tenders not only listed the same prices but they had also made the exact same mistake, i.e. listing a product priced at DKK 0,00. The national authorities offering the tender therefore contacted the DCCA, as they found the circumstances rather unusual. The DCCA's suspicion was further increased when correspondence between the parties described that the parties should "join forces" in relation to the procurement. The Danish Competition Authority subsequently filed a police report against the two companies and ultimately the case was tried before the district court of Glostrup.
Throughout the trial both of the companies refused to have entered into a coordination agreement. The court stated that the companies could not be considered to be competitors as the companies were engaged in different types of business. Bacher Logistics was active within logistics while Bjerregaard Sikkerhed was a distributor of footwear. Based on this information, the court inferred that the "join forces" correspondence concerned the potential establishment of a subcontractor relationship between the companies. Therefore, the court stated that the fact that both companies had submitted the exact same prices could be indicative of an agreement between them to coordinate their tenders with the aim of impeding effective competition. Nevertheless, the court ultimately found that the material and evidence presented in the case were not sufficient to substantiate the claim that the two companies had entered into an agreement to coordinate prices and other terms. Consequently, both companies were acquitted.
For more information, please refer to the district court's decision available in Danish here