On 28 January 2015, the Italian Competition Authority ("ICA") fined ten ferry services operators, active in the Gulf of Naples and Salerno, for their failure to respect commitments agreed on in a previous investigation.
In 2009, the ICA closed an investigation into a common undertaking (CLMP) among ferry operators in the Gulf of Naples and Salerno following commitments by the ferry operators not to share and exchange confidential business information and to close down their common undertaking. The undertakings concerned submitted compliance reports to the ICA in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Following complaints filed by customers in 2010 concerning increased tariffs for ferry services, the ICA decided to reopen and expand its previous investigation to include, inter alia, a new joint undertaking (Gescab), which had been created to coordinate various activities of the ferry operators, including shared ticketing.
During this new investigation, the ICA discovered that the ferry operators had breached their previously agreed commitments: the common undertaking that had been the subject of the previous investigation (CLMP) had simply been replaced by a new one (Gescab) and the coordination activities between the ferry operators that had previously been investigated were still on-going. Moreover, the ferry operators were allocating markets and revenues, fixing prices and coordinating commercial and business decisions.
The ICA therefore decided to fine the ferry operators for their failure to respect the agreed commitments and for an infringement of Article 101 TFEU. The fines imposed total more than € 14 million. This is the first time that the ICA has reopened an investigation which it had previously closed following the acceptance of commitments.
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