Cardiff Bus: OFT enforces the law on abuse

OFT press notice reporting that it has issued a statement of objections to the municipal bus company Cardiff Bus alleging predatory conduct in 2004 and early 2005. Cardiff Bus is said to be immune from penalties in respect of its past conduct as a result of Section 40 of the Competition Act 1998 and The Competition Act 1998 (Small Agreements and Conduct of Minor Significance) Regulations 2000.

OFT has not pursued many cases of abuse of dominant position in recent years, and has recently closed a number of investigations on grounds of administrative priorities. OFT has also said that it does not wish to be used as an alternative to litigation in commercial disputes. The press notice does not disclose the precise basis on which the Cardiff Bus case was considered to be an administrative priority — in particular whether OFT considers this case to have precedent value for the bus sector or more generally, or whether an OFT decision is being sought to enable the liquidators of the victim of the alleged predatory conduct to recover damages.

Interested parties have until Tuesday 24 July 2007 to request a non-confidential version of the statement of objections.

Comment. The press notice appears to claim that recoupment (or prior knowledge of recoupment by the dominant company) is a necessary ingredient of predatory abuse. Did the press office copy an American definition or does OFT think it can change UK and EC law? Franck

For further information or advice please contact Franck Latrémolière.

Filed under Article 82, OFT, Public transport.

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