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Fiscalía Nacional Económica (FNE), Chilean competition authority, gets buses collusion sactioned by competition tribunal

04 / 01 / 2021

The Chilean Competition Tribunal, TDLC, upheld the FNE’s accusation regarding a cartel between all ten bus companies that operate in Temuco and Padre Las Casas, a conurbation located in the south of the country. The defendants were sanctioned with a fine that sums up to USD 1 million, besides being ordered to stop any anticompetitive conduct and write a code to avoid committing the same kind of behaviors in the future.

The ten bus companies involved agreed to limit the bus fleet so that each player could increase their own fleet in only two buses per year. The agreement was easy to monitor since the number of buses that each firm operates in the market constitutes public information. The colluded companies also agreed not to ally with new entrants to the market. Such conducts took place from 2003 to 2017.

The TDLC’s analysis acknowledged every part of the FNE’s allegation. The agreement implied a supply restriction because it limited the number of buses that each company would have chosen in a competitive scenario. Moreover, it is expected that the customers in the geographic area affected by the cartel would have experienced an increase in frequency or decrease in prices had the firms behaved competitively. The cartel also impeded new routes that might have benefited areas that experienced important demographic growth during the collusive period.

This is the most recent of eight cases that the FNE has accused of public bus collusion in different Chilean cities. The National Economic Prosecutor, Ricardo Riesco, declared that “we, in the FNE, care especially for those markets that greatly affect people’s budgets and quality of life, such as the urban public transport market in every region of the country. ”

All bus companies have ten days to appeal the TDLC’s judgment in the Supreme Court.