The only publicly known Dutch competition law investigation since the end of the pandemic – Antitrust / competition law

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Netherlands: The only publicly known Dutch competition law investigation since the end of the pandemic

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

The Dutch competition authority has closed an investigation into an alleged maintenance of resale prices in the furniture sector. This survey was announced on September 18, 2020 by the Dutch Consumers and Markets Authority (ACM). ACM initiated the investigation following indications that suppliers had imposed minimum prices on retailers. In addition, the ACM suspected that there would be agreements between different suppliers on the resale prices of their products to consumers.

The ACM says insufficient evidence has been found, but said it will “seriously consider” any new indications of anti-competitive behavior in the furniture market and monitor the industry closely.

The furniture industry survey, announced on September 18, 2020, was the first survey based on the new guidelines on vertical and horizontal agreements between suppliers and buyers that were released by the ACM in 2019. The guidelines guidelines show that the ACM follows a more stringent approach to cases of vertical restraints.

This investigation is the only publicly known cartel investigation that the ACM has conducted since March 2020, the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Although the ACM announced in a statement on June 12, 2020, that it would conduct dawn raids again, it appears to have been reluctant to do so due to the coronavirus pandemic. Competition authorities in other member states have also carried out significantly fewer dawn raids during the coronavirus pandemic. The Belgian competition authority, as far as the public is aware, has not carried out any dawn searches since March of last year. However, as the pandemic is better under control, competition authorities may once again carry out more raids in the early hours of dawn.

Loyens & Loeff has extensive experience in assisting dawn raids. The team has first-rate expertise in search procedures and will work with you to protect your rights throughout. We would like to refer to our Dawn Raiding Instructions in case your organization is unexpectedly investigated.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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