The Competition Council has issued fines totaling 6.9 million lei (approximately1.4 million euros) for six companies offering food and beverage services at Henri Coandă Bucharest International Airport, according to a press release. The six companies were penalized for colluding to fix prices, which the six companies admitted to.
The Competition Council’s investigation comes amidst numerous complaints by passengers at Henri Coanda Airport about the food and drinks prices, which are amongst the highest in Europe.
Henri Coandă Bucharest International Airport, in which the Ministry of Transportation has a majority stake, has offered exclusive rights to the company Dnata Catering for the management of all food and beverage services on the airport premises. Dnata Catering had subcontracted these services with Food & Beverages Management, Trotter and City Cafe Express (both in the City Grill group), as well as with Primero Business Consulting (currentlyLand ofUtil Technology) and RBK Property Management.
Following the investigation that began in June of 2019, the Competition Council has found that these companies coordinated their commercial pricing policies, discounts, and promotions, both via contractual terms, and through a series of procedures, and the way in which contractual relations are conducted, so as to constantly align their prices for the services offered to passengers at the airport.
In this way, price competition was stifled, and airport passengers had no choice but to pay the high prices set-up in collusion by all the players in the market, or they had to limit themselves with lower level of service for a set price.
The fines were applied as follows:
Dnata Catering SRL: 6.622.401 lei
Food and Beverages Management SRL: 43,558 lei
Trotter Management SRL: 8,010 lei
City Cafe Express SRL: 148,752 lei
RBK Property Management SRL: 104,294 lei
Primero Business Consulting SRL (currently, Land of Util Technology SRL): 3,994 lei
All six companies involved in the scheme admitted their guilt in violation the anti-competitive act, thus benefiting from reductions in fines, according to the communiqué quoted.
Translated by: O.H.