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Slovnaft faces antitrust fine over gasoline, diesel discounts

Slovnaft AS, the Slovak refinery controlled by Hungarian oil company Mol Rt, was fined 300 mln Slovak koruna ($11.6 mlnn) for allegedly abusing its market position in discounting fuel, the Slovak Anti-Monopoly Office said.

The company breached competition rules by granting discounts or giving extra charges to customers that buy wholesale gasoline and diesel from the company, the office's spokeswoman Alexandra Bernathova said in an e-mailed press release. Slovnaft, for example, discriminated against Royal Dutch Shell Plc., which had a smaller discount on gasoline than rival OMV AG, the regulator said. The policy also hurt buyers of diesel, it said. Slovnaft said in an e-mail that it rejects the allegation and will appeal within the 15-day deadline. The refiner has almost a 40% share of Slovakia's fuel market. The company, controlled by Mol, Hungary's largest oil company, was fined 1.3 billion koruna last year by Slovak Finance Ministry for overcharging on fuel prices. Slovnaft said in the statement that, in the past, it built an extra facility for gasoline additives for Shell. The lower discounts for Shell reflect the extra cost for building the facility. OMV's discount was 85 koruna higher per 1,000 liters of gasoline than the discount for Shell, the refiner said. „Slovnaft maintains that its discount policy is in line with market principles and disagrees with the claim of the office that the discount policy could have discriminated against customers,” the company said. (Bloomberg)