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The Austrian companies HS Timber Production (formerly Holzindustrie Schweighofer), Kronospan and Egger, all with activities on the Romanian wood market, were fined, along with other companies, for forming a cartel.

The highest sanctions target the local subsidiaries of Austrian groups Holzindustrie Schweighoffer (HS) – RON 51.7 mln (EUR 10.6 mln), Kronospan – RON 46.4 mln (EUR 9.5 mln), and Egger – RON 22.6 mln (EUR 4.64 mln). These three groups are also the biggest players in the local timber industry, which explains the high level of the fines against them, as competition fines are usually a percentage of the turnover.

The list of those sanctioned also includes another 24 companies, which each have amounts under 1 million lei (EUR 205,000). Rise Project claims that these companies cartelized tenders and divided their spheres of influence, lots of wood or sources of supply; allegedly trafficked commercially sensitive information on raw material requirements, timber purchases, institutional organizational charts; it would have neutralized local competition with reduced market power.

“By dividing the lots and the timber sources, depending on the interest, the concerted agreements severely restricted competition, from the perspective of the demand manifested on the analyzed market, altering the competitive process in the tenders”, says a document of the Competition Council.

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