Romanian competition authority fines MOL unit €18.5m

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Hungarian oil and gas company MOL on Tuesday said Romania’s competition authority fined its local unit RON 80.3m (€18.5m) for an alleged breach of anti-trust rules.

MOL said the alleged breach involved the common withdrawal of Eco Premium pre-mixed unleaded petrol from the market in 2008.

After a prohibition on leaded petrol was introduced in Romania in 2005, refineries replaced the tetraethyl lead with other metallic additives, thus creating the ECO Premium line. MOL Romania acquired 100% of ECO Premium from local producers or from distributors, as MOL had ceased producing petrol with metallic additives by October 2004. ECO Premium sales decreased until 2008, as the number of older cars that used the fuel declined.

"MOL Romania states that withdrawing ECO Premium from its fuels portfolio was its individual business decision and not the result of an anticompetitive agreement, concerted practice," MOL said.

MOL Romania will file a motion to suspend the execution of the competition authority’s decision and will challenge it with the Bucharest Appeal Court, MOL said.

The fine on MOL Romania is equivalent to 3% of its turnover in 2010, MOL noted.

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