The CNMC investigates possible anti-competitive practices that would consist of the coordination between several companies for the presentation of economic offers in certain tenders called for the supply of food to communities dependent on public bodies.

On March 22 and 23, 2022, the headquarters of several companies operating in this market were inspected. The CNMC has had the collaboration of the Autonomous Competition Authority of one of the affected territories to carry out the inspection carried out in its territory.

The inspections represent a preliminary step in the investigation process of the alleged anti-competitive conduct and do not prejudge the result of the investigation or the culpability of the inspected companies.

If the CNMC finds evidence of practices prohibited by the Law for the Defense of Competition and by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union as a result of the inspection, it will proceed to formally initiate disciplinary proceedings.

The CNMC recalls that agreements between competitors constitute a very serious infringement of competition law. This violation can lead to fines of up to 10% of the total turnover of the offending companies.

The investigation of cartels is one of the CNMC’s action priorities, given the special seriousness of its consequences on consumers and the proper functioning of the markets.

For this, it has, among others, the leniency program, which allows companies that provide evidence to the CNMC that make it possible to detect the cartel in which they participate or have participated, to benefit from the exemption from the payment of the fine. This program also allows companies requesting leniency to benefit from reductions in the amount of the fine that provide information with significant added value once the investigation by the CNMC has begun.

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