Oslo City Court judgment in asphalt cartel case. The case concerned the Norwegian Competition Authority’s (NCA) decision from March 2013 to impose a fine of NOK 140 million on two affiliated companies in the asphalt industry, NCC AB and NCC Roads AS, for colluding with another company, Veidekke, between 2005-2008. Oslo City Court found in its recent judgment that there had been a grave competition law violation. The judgment confirms that companies are responsible for employees’ actions. Oslo City Court reduced the fine to NOK 40 million as it did not agree with the NCA’s calculation of the fine. Furthermore, the Court did not find grounds to hold the parent company, NCC AB, responsible for the infringement. The judgment is, ultimo February 2014, not yet binding and the parties are currently consider whether to appeal or not.

Fine imposed for breach of standstill obligation. The NCA has concluded that a player in the grocery sector, Norgesgruppen, broke the competition law’s standstill obligation by taking over lease contracts and continuing grocery business on the premises without clearing the transaction in question. NorgesGruppen asserted that the transfer of the lease contacts did not amount to any concentration. Up to present the highest fines for breach of the standstill obligation have been around NOK 350 000. The NCA has imposed an all- time high fine of NOK 25 million on NorgesGruppen for its breach of the standstill obligation. See this page. http://www.konkurransetilsynet.no/en/news/archive/ Fine-imposed-on-Norgesgruppen/.

Purchase and distribution agreement in the grocery sector may be blocked. The NCA has, after assessing the case for over one year, concluded its preliminary assessment and found that an agreement on cooperation in purchasing and distribution between two actors in the grocery business, Ica and Norgesgruppen, is illegal, and that the cooperation therefore must cease. The case is unique, as this is the biggest cooperation case ever in Norway. The parties have been notified this assessment and given until 25 April 2014 to respond to the notification. Find out more on this page. http://www.konkurransetilsynet.no/ en/news/archive/Warns-that-the-agreement-between-Ica-and-Norgesgruppen-may-be-blocked/

Kjetil Johansen, Line Voldstad