After six years, Colombia's Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC) has again closed an investigation after accepting guarantees offered by the investigated companies.

It concerns the investigation initiated against a company for incurring in alleged anticompetitive practices for obstructing the free circulation of its vendors' invoices. This conduct is expressly forbidden by Article 778 of the Commercial Code, which states that all retention or act that prevents free circulation of invoices constitutes a restrictive practice of competition; as this is a mechanism used by micro, small and medium entrepreneurs as an alternative to traditional financing mechanisms.

The investigated company offered behavioral and structural guarantees within the investigation that consisted, among other things, of creating a technological platform that enables the free circulation and negotiation of invoices between vendors and factoring companies, as well as a collateral that was estimated by the SIC to be 100,000 monthly minimum legal wages.

In fact, the offer of guarantees within investigations for alleged anticompetitive practices is established in Article 16 of Law 1340 of 2009, as a procedural tool through which the investigated companies undertake the commitment to suspend or modify the investigated conduct.

The mentioned ratifies the usefulness of this procedural tool, which keeps the Competition Authority from engaging in overwork for demonstrating the occurrence of anticompetitive practices. It also permits the closing of an administrative investigation in advance, without the authority's pronouncement and without imposing sanctions to the investigated companies, granting free competition in the market.

Therefore, Holland & Knight is in agreement that the SIC has again used this tool, as it makes possible the free participation of companies in the market, the welfare of consumers and economic efficiency.