ÖBB and ČD were to make a secret treaty against RegioJet

ÖBB and ČD were to make a secret treaty against RegioJet
@FB RegioJet

European Commission accused both companies of breaching anti-monopoly rules.

The European Commission has informed České dráhy (‘ČD') and Österreichische Bundesbahnen (‘ÖBB'), the Czech and Austrian rail incumbents, of its preliminary view that they have breached EU antitrust rules by colluding in the market for used passenger railway wagons to distort competition in the rail passenger transport market.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “With healthy competition, European citizens benefit from good quality and affordable rail passenger services.  Attractive rail passenger services also encourage travelers to shift from road to rail transport, which is essential for achieving the EU Green Deal's objectives. In today's Statement of Objections, we preliminarily found that ÖBB and ČD breached EU competition rules by colluding to hinder access to used wagons to a new entrant, RegioJet, restricting competition on the rail passenger transport market."

In 2011, the Czech rail company RegioJet entered the long-distance rail passenger transport market in Czechia. For its operations, RegioJet largely relied on used wagons to be able to compete with ČD and ÖBB.

The Commission preliminarily finds that, between 2012 and 2016, ČD and ÖBB engaged in a collective boycott aimed at maintaining their market position and impeding the expansion of RegioJet both in Czechia and on the international rail route between Prague and Vienna. A collective boycott occurs when a group of competitors agrees to exclude or hinder an actual or potential competitor.

In particular, the Commission's preliminary view is that ČD and ÖBB agreed to hinder RegioJet's access to ÖBB's used wagons for long-distance passenger transport. To ensure that RegioJet could not acquire those wagons, ČD and ÖBB coordinated their actions to boycott RegioJet in sales of used ÖBB wagons.

If the Commission's preliminary view were confirmed, ČD's and ÖBB's conduct would infringe Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union that prohibits anti-competitive business practices such as collusion.

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