Resale price maintenance and LPG distribution market in Turkey
The Turkish Competition Authority (“TCA”) recently finalized its investigation into Aygaz, a company active in production, import, supply and distribution of LPG in the form of bottled gas, and determined that resale price maintenance (“RPM”) used by Aygaz did not violate Article 4 of the Turkish Competition Law. The investigation was launched in 2015 in response to the decision of the Ankara 16th Administrative Court annulling the TCA’s earlier decision and urging on necessity to thoroughly evaluate Aygaz’s RPM practices.
In 2013 the TCA conducted a preliminary investigation into Aygaz. The TCA determined that the company used RPM in some cases, but it decided not to initiate a full investigation due to lack of appreciable effect on competition on the LPG distribution market. The TCA delivered a recommendation stating that Aygaz should refrain from the RPM practices that may restrict dealers’ ability to set their own resale prices, and as a result may fall into the scope of the Turkish Competition Law and lead to heavy sanctions.
The TCA’s decision was annulled by Ankara Administrative Court in 2015 on the basis that the TCA should have thoroughly evaluated the practices in question. As a result, in August 2015 the TCA initiated a full-fledged investigation to determine whether Aygaz’s practices amounted to infringement.
In November 2016 the TCA with its Decision No 16-39/659-294 concluded that commercial practices of Aygaz did not violate Article 4 of the Turkish Competition Law. Details of the case will be available once the reasoned decision of the TCA is published in a due course.
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