By a decision issued on 26 June, the Market Court rejected Valio’s appeal and imposed on the company a €70m fine proposed by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) for abuse of dominant position in the production and wholesale market of fresh milk. The FCCA considers this decision highly important for safeguarding effective competition. The decision is a landmark in evaluating abuse of dominance in Finland.
The Market Court decision upheld the FCCA proposal, which asserted that Valio is guilty of a serious breach of the Competition Act. Valio engaged in predatory pricing in order to remove effective competition from the fresh milk market in Finland.
“The FCCA is satisfied with the Market Court decision. It sends a strong signal that abuse of dominance and other conduct contrary to the Competition Act will not be tolerated. It is in the interests of consumers to preserve the competitive structure of the market. The decision also demonstrates that the competition authority and the Court are capable of evaluating broad and complicated competition issues,” says Juhani Jokinen, Director General of the FCCA.
In a decision issued at the end of 2012, the FCCA ordered Valio to cease its abusive conduct and proposed to the Market Court that a fine be imposed for a breach of the Competition Act. The FCCA intervened in Valio’s conduct because the predatory pricing, if sustained, would have led to Valio gaining a monopoly on the fresh milk market, which would have caused an increase in prices.
Markkinaoikeus tuomitsi Valion maksamaan määräävän markkina-aseman väärinkäytöstä 70 miljoonan euron seuraamusmaksun (Market Court press release, 26 June 2014, in finnish)
Market Court: Valio must comply with Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority decision in spite of appeal (FCCA press release, 28 June 2013)
FCA proposes a €70m fine on Valio for abuse of dominant position in the fresh milk market (Press release from the Finnish Competition Authority (now the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority), 20 December 2012)