Competition (Finland): The Finnish Competition Authority discontinues investigations into gasoline wholesale market

On 28 May 2012, the Finnish Competition Authority (“FCA”) adopted a decision to discontinue investigations into the market for wholesale of gasoline to independent filling station operators. These investigations concerned, in particular, wholesale prices charged by oil companies to independent operators. The FCA had originally decided to initiate investigations into practices on this market upon suspicions voiced by filling station operators and their trade organization. According to the independent operators, oil companies, to which the operators are bound by fixed term agreements for the supply of gasoline, were favoring operators belonging to the oil companies’ own retail chains and thereby abusing their dominant position.

The complaining parties claimed that the purpose of this abusive pricing practice was to impede independent operators’ business operations on the gasoline retail market. The FCA recognized, that there may have been problematic situations for independent filling station operators as the wholesale price level of gasoline has from time to time been high in relation to gasoline prices charged on the retail market. However, the FCA found that those instances arose rather from the competition between oil companies on the retail market than from abusive pricing. Thereby the FCA concluded that competition law was not infringed. Source: The Finnish Competition Authority’s Press Release 28/05/2012

Roschier, Attorneys Ltd. - Finland