Cartels

In December 2017, the Market Court imposed penalties on several coach companies, the Finnish Bus and Coach Association and Matkahuolto. In its decision issued on 14 December 2017, the Market Court considered that the coach companies Finnish Bus and Coach Association and Matkahuolto have been guilty of participating in a cartel. The Market Court's decision was partly in line with the penalty proposal made by the FCCA, although the amount of the fine was smaller than proposed.

The Market Court ordered the companies, Finnish Bus and Coach Association and Matkahuolto to each pay a penalty payment totalling EUR 1.1 million. The FCCA’s proposal was EUR 38 million. The Market Court considered that the companies and Finnish Bus and Coach Association had sought to restrict competition by shutting new bus routes out of Matkahuolto’s travel services, such as information and ticket sales services, and not granting freight transport rights to them. With regard to travel services, the prohibited activities took place from December 2010 to September 2012, and from December 2010 to December 2015 with regard to freight services.

In the opinion of the Market Court, the companies and Finnish Bus and Coach Association had not been guilty of prohibited restraints on competition in the course of their lobbying work and the related discussions and negotiations. Neither did it consider the opposition to the issuing of route licences in discussions and through statements or complaints to constitute prohibited restriction of competition. The Market Court did not consider Matkahuolto’s renewed service agreement to place restraints on competition. The Market Court rejected the FCCA’s proposal in this regard.

Two cartel cases based on the FCCA’s complaint were still pending at the Supreme Administrative Court. In the power line cartel case, the Market Court rejected the FCCA’s penalty proposal of EUR 35 million in 2016 as having expired. The ruling of the Market Court concerning the Finnish Bakery Federation, in which the Market Court confirmed the violation but reduced the proposed penalty payment, was appealed by the FCCA in the Supreme Administrative Court with respect to the penalty.