FAS COMMENTS ANTIMONOPOLY VIOLATIONS ON THE MARKETS OF RAILWAY WHEELS
The first antimonopoly case on signs of monopolistically high prices for railway wheels in 2017 – 2018. FAS initiated the proceedings in October 2018 which was reported on FAS official web-site.
The investigation was completed on 18 July 2019 after the antimonopoly authority had carried out a comprehensive market analysis. It was ascertained that in H2 2017 and the entire 2018 consumer demand for the products increased considerably, which is an objective and economically justified reason for the price growth for railway wheels. There was no cause-and-effect relation between the dominant position of “VMZ” OJSC and increased priced for whole-rolled wheels in 2017-2018.
An objective case consideration was supported by a representative survey of consumer, including railway transport operators as well as involvement of “Russian Railways” and the Union of Railway Operators in the case.
FAS received a statement from “URALCHEM-TRANS” Ltd. on bringing it into the proceedings as an interested person on 27 June 2019, three weeks before the statutory deadline for finalizing the case. On 18 July 2019, FAS also received a statement from “Balakhontsy Wagon Depot” Ltd., which, like “URALCHEM-TRANS” Ltd., is a member of the Group of “Uralkali” PJSC.
Head of FAS Department for Industry Control, Nelli Galimkhanova, explained: “The antimonopoly authority made a decision to dismiss the companies’ claim because the evidence regarding actions of the respondent in Q2 2017 - the end of 2018 had been obtained by that time by FAS through a series of surveys of consumers at large”.
At the same time, the statements of “URALCHEM-TRANS” Ltd. received during the case investigation contain information about possible violations committed by “VMZ” JSC on the market of railway wheels in 2019. Therefore, FAS, that has recently opened a new case upon elements of an antimonopoly violation on the rail wheel market in 2019, has brought the company in the investigation as a person that possesses evidence, back in July 2019, opening the proceedings. The first meeting of the Commission is scheduled on 12 September 2019. In the course of the investigation, FAS will give a comprehensive assessment of a recent price growth spiral in 2019, hear and analyze the arguments of the persons involved into the proceedings and arguments of other persons if submitted to FAS.