Final judgment in the Verisure case

Verisure has paid the fine of NOK 766 million for illegal cooperation with the competitor Sector. Verisure has decided not to appeal the decision, which means that the case is now final on behalf of the Norwegian Competition Authority.On 25 November 2021, the Competition Tribunal upheld the Norwegian Competition Authority’s decision finding that Verisure AS had violated the Competition Act by coordinating illegally with the competitor Sector Alarm AS, and that the conduct at issue constituted a restriction of competition by object. The Tribunal upheld the fine of NOK 766 million.

Verisure does not agree with the Competition Tribunals decision but has now decided not to bring the case further to the court and has paid the fine. The Norwegian Competition Authority’s decision is therefore final.

Verisure and Sector Alarm collaborated to divide the market between them in the period 2011 to 2017. The collaboration was not to sell home alarms to each other’s customers through door sales. Both companies restricted their own door sellers’ access to sell home alarms to the other’s customers, and it took place all over the country. The Competition Tribunal found it proved with a clear preponderance of probabilities that there was illegal market sharing and exchange of competition-sensitive information between Verisure and Sector Alarm in the relevant period.

– Now that the Norwegian Competition Authority’s decision is final, it sends an important signal to market participants that market sharing and exchange of information constitutes a serious violation of the Competition Act, which is also reflected in the fines imposed in this case, says Director General Lars Sørgard.

The Competition Tribunal’s press release: https://www.klagenemndssekretariatet.no/konkurranseklagenemnda/aktuelt-konkurranseklagenemnda/konkurranseklagenemnda-opprettholder-konkurransetilsynets-vedtak-om-a-ilegge-verisure-et-overtredelsesgebyr-pa-766-millioner-for-brudd-pa-konkurranseloven

Public version of the Norwegian Competition Authority’s decision: https://konkurransetilsynet.no/decisions/vedtak-v2020-32-verisure-as-verisure-midholding-as-ileggelse-av-overtredelsesgebyr-krrl-%c2%a7-29-jf-%c2%a7-10-og-eos-avtalen-artikkel-53/

About the investigation
– The Norwegian Competition Authority carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of Verisure AS and Sector Alarm AS on 20 June 2017. During the inspections, the Authority seized documents and electronically stored material.
– After the inspections, a substantial amount of evidence was systemised and examined.
– From February 2018 until September 2020, the Authority conducted interviews with employees from both companies.
– On 17 June 2019, the Authority issued a Statement of Objections, in which Verisure and Sector Alarm were informed that the Authority considered imposing fines for collusive behaviour on both of them.
-Sector Alarm AS chose to accept the fine prior to the deadline for submitting a reply to the Statement of Objections. On that basis, the company submitted a short reply to the Authority in June 2019, and, on 4 July 2019, the Authority adopted a decision imposing a fine of 467.3 million NOK on Sector Alarm AS.
– Verisure AS submitted its reply to the Statement of Objections in November 2019.
– The Competition Authority’s final decision, in which a fine of 766.0 million NOK was imposed on Verisure AS, was sent to Verisure AS on 25 November 2020.
– On 25 May 2021, Verisure AS appealed the decision to the Competition Tribunal.
– On 25 November 2021 the Competition Tribunal upheld the Competition Authority’s decision.

Lars Sørgard.

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