In a press release issued on 3 July 2014, the German Federal
Cartel Office ("FCO") announced that it had adopted a
decision finding that the German supermarket corporation EDEKA
Zentrale AG & Co. KG ("EDEKA") abused its market
position on the food retailing procurement market by prompting
its suppliers to grant it contractual benefits – so-called
"wedding rebates" – following EDEKA's takeover
of the supermarket chain Plus in 2009. However, no fine was imposed
for this abuse.
According to the FCO's press release, EDEKA insisted on
suppliers granting it the same preferential conditions and benefits
that they had previously granted to Plus without, however,
justifying why it should be granted such
preferential treatment. EDEKA's claims were also made
with retroactive effect and, reportedly, as many as 500 suppliers
were subject to such pressure from EDEKA.
The FCO concluded that, whilst not being dominant, EDEKA's
market position on the procurement
market in the food retail sector was strong
enough for its suppliers to be economically dependent on EDEKA. As
a result, EDEKA's claims towards its suppliers were found by
the FCO to amount to an abuse of its market position. The FCO's
conclusion reflects the wording of Section 20 of the German Act
against Restraints of Competition, according to which the
prohibition of an abuse of a dominant position applies equally
to non-dominant companies with superior market
power in their relations with small and medium-sized
suppliers or purchasers that are economically dependent on
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