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Bulgarian Competition Watchdog Exposes SPA Industry Cartel

Date: 08.07.2010

The Supreme Administrative Court has upheld a fine imposed by the Bulgarian Competition Protection Commission over a cartel in the spa industry.

The Commission has slapped a fine of BGN 345 000 on the National Association of SPA and Wellness Centers and on three of its members – Nola 7, Lyuto – Georgiev & Co., Vebacom – Eduard Todorov – for forming a cartel in services related to the construction and maintenance of spa facilities around the country.

The investigation of the competition watchdog has discovered that using the sittings of the Association, the three companies negotiated and applied a mechanism for anti-competition cooperation through apportioning the Bulgarian market, boycotting competitors, and manipulating tenders.

The National Association of SPA and Wellness Centers, an NGO, was in fact monitoring these agreements – including by gathering information about companies – used to destroy fair competition practices.

The Competition Protection Commission has also reminded that any companies which might have suffered from the SPA facilities cartel can file suits seeking compensation from the violators.

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