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08 September 2021 / news

The only publicly known Dutch competition law investigation since the pandemic has been dropped

The Dutch competition authority has closed an investigation into alleged resale price maintenance in the home furnishings sector. ACM began the investigation following indications that suppliers had imposed minimum prices on retailers. Furthermore, the ACM suspected that there would be agreements between different suppliers on resale prices of their products to consumers.

The only publicly known Dutch competition law investigation since the pandemic has been dropped

The Dutch competition authority has closed an investigation into alleged resale price maintenance in the home furnishings sector. This investigation had been announced on 18 September 2020 by the Dutch Authority for consumers and Markets (ACM). The ACM began the investigation following indications that suppliers had imposed minimum prices on retailers. Furthermore, the ACM suspected that there would be agreements between different suppliers on resale prices of their products to consumers. 

The ACM indicates that insufficient evidence was found, but stated that it would “seriously consider” any new indications of anticompetitive behavior in the home furnishings market and keeps a close eye on the sector. 

The investigation in the home furnishing sector, announced on 18 September 2020, was the first investigation based on the new guidelines on vertical and horizontal agreements between suppliers and buyers that has been published by the ACM in 2019. The guidelines show that the ACM follows a tougher approach to vertical restraint cases. 

This investigation is the only publicly known cartel investigation that the ACM conducted since March 2020, the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Although the ACM has announced on 12 June 2020 in a press release, that it will conduct dawn raids again, it seems to have been reluctant to do so due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also competition authorities in other Member States have made far fewer dawn raids during the coronavirus pandemic. The Belgian competition authority, as far as publicly known, did not conduct any dawn raid since March last year. However, as the pandemic is more under control, the competition authorities may conduct more dawn raids again. 

Loyens & Loeff has extensive experience assisting with dawn raids. The team possesses first rate expertise in dawn raid procedures and will work with you to protect your rights throughout. We would like to refer to our dawn raid instruction in case your organization unexpectedly becomes subject of an investigation.



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