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Competition Offices fines railway companies for cartel activity

Hungary's Competition Office (GVH) on Tuesday said it fined state-owned-railway company MÁV, regional railway company GYSEV and Rail Cargo Hungaria a combined HUF 1.25 billion for cartel activity. GVH established that the companies had colluded when setting prices.

It also found that GYSEV and Rail Cargo Hungaria participated in cartel activity when they signed a framework contract on cooperation. GVH fined MÁV 100 million, GYSEV HUF 300 million and Rail Cargo Hungaria HUF 850 million. GVH's statement confirms a report in Tuesday's issue of daily Magyar Nemzet.
    GVH said Rail Cargo Hungaria and GYSEV divided the market, in terms of geographical area, amongst themselves between January 2006 and May 2009. The deal was made to cement their positions before the deregulation of the market, it added. GVH said the companies colluded on a unified pricing structure after the market was deregulated.
A spokesman for GYSEV told MTI on Tuesday that the company believes it did not infringe competition rules and would appeal GVH's decision. "As a market player with a past going back decades, we place great stress on our clients' interests, taking into full account proper, impartial and lawful market behavior and cooperation," said László Razó.
MÁV said in a statement sent to MTI that it did not intentionally break competition rules during the time in question. The company's management will review GVH's justification for the fine, it added. MÁV noted they have 30 days to appeal the decision. Rail Cargo Hungaria also said it as well as its predecessor MÁV Cargo, cooperated legally with the companies cited by GVH.