On May 28 2013 the Competition Authority published its decision
to open antitrust proceedings against Italian railway operator
Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (FS) for possible abusive conduct
under Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European
Union. On the same day, the authority conducted a dawn raid at the
premises of FS.
FS owns the incumbent passenger services operator Trenitalia.
Until April 2012, Trenitalia held a monopoly in high-speed
passenger services in Italy. FS currently enjoys a legal monopoly
over access to the Italian railway network through its subsidiary
and infrastructure manager RFI. FS also manages access to passenger
stations and maintenance facilities in Italy.
The opening of the investigation follows a complaint by Nuovo
Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV), a new entrant in the market for
high-speed passenger services. The investigation was opened on the
basis of the following allegations:
FS is squeezing NTV's margins by applying:
high charges for NTV to access to the railway network; and
low prices to consumers for high-speed passenger services.
FS is subsidising its high-speed passenger services through
revenues from services for which it enjoys a monopoly.
FS has refused to grant NTV network access during peak hours
and is discriminating in favour of Trenitalia when allocating
railway infrastructure capacity.
FS has refused to grant NTV access to a maintenance facility in
FS has refused to grant NTV access to spaces for advertising
and promoting commercial services in passenger stations. FS has
also denied NTV suitable ticketing locations.
FS is discriminating against NTV by charging it higher prices
than those charged to Trenitalia for advertising in passenger
FS is operating passenger stations inefficiently with a view to
making NTV's entry more difficult.
The authority believes that this alleged conduct could be aimed
at impeding NTV's entry into the market and harming
The antitrust proceedings will conclude in July 2014. In the
meantime, depending on the evidence both submitted by NTV and found
during its inspection, the authority may impose interim measures on
FS to ensure that NTV is granted equitable and non-discriminatory
access to infrastructure.
Although RFI and Trenitalia are separate legal entities within
FS, the authority's investigation will reveal whether their
commercial operations are managed under a common strategy aimed at
excluding NTV from the market and penalising NTV's
While the authority's investigation is pending, and with a
view to ensuring fair and non-discriminatory access to the Italian
rail network and related services, the new government headed by
Enrico Letta will consider proceeding with the appointment of the
president and commissioners of an independent transport authority.
The 10 so-called 'wise men' appointed by the president to
recommend reforms, as well as the Organisation for Economic
Cooperation and Development, have already urged the government to
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