CCA opens proceeding against Hrvatske šume

On 7 October 2021 the Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) opened ex-officio proceeding against the Croatian forestry and woodland management company Hrvatske šume d.o.o. with its seat in Zagreb, with the view to identifying any anticompetitive behaviour in the form of abuse of dominance in the distribution of timber assortments within the meaning of Article 13 of the Competition Act, OG 79/09, 80/13 and 41/21.

The operation of the public forest owner Hrvatske šume is governed by specific rules. The undertaking Hrvatske šume is a primary source of supply of timber assortments necessary in the production of end products of wood. It must be noted that Hrvatske šume primarily sell timber assortments based on calls for tender. It is the view of the CCA that any non-transparency of the calls for tender that would be discriminatory to certain undertakings by their exclusion from the calls for tenders or by the assignment of lower cap volumes, could place these undertakings into a less favourable position in the downstream final wood products market, impede their operation or even lead to uncompetitive foreclosure

Therefore, the objective of the procedure concerned is to identify whether the criteria applied by Hrvatske šume and contained in the calls for tender have been clear, transparent and equal for all competing undertakings with respect to timber quota allocations preceding the conclusions of framework and annual agreements, which could lead to abuse of a dominant position in the sense of Article 13 of the Competition Act.

The CCA notes here that the mere opening of an administrative proceeding against the undertaking concerned does not prejudice the decision of the CCA that will be based on the merit of the case, considering all the relevant facts of the case and concrete evidence.