The Competition Tribunal has upheld the Competition Authority’s decision finding that Verisure has violated the Competition Act by coordinating illegally with Sector Alarm, and that the conduct at issue constituted a restriction of competition by object. The Tribunal upholds the fine of NOK 766 million.
The Competition Tribunal agrees with the Competition Authority that Verisure and Sector Alarm collaborated to share the market between them in the period 2011 to 2017. They agreed not to sell alarm services to each other’s residential customers through door-to-door selling. Both companies limited the extent to which their door-to-door sales representatives could sell alarm services to the other company’s customers, and this applied throughout the country.
– We welcome the Tribunal’s decision. The decision is thorough and emphasises that market sharing is 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 found that it has been established beyond the requisite preponderance of the evidence standard that illegal market sharing and exchange of competition-sensitive information took place between Verisure and Sector Alarm during the relevant period.
– According to the Competition Tribunal it was obvious that contacts were established and information exchanged with a view to allocate customers in the market concerned, so-called market sharing. The Tribunal finds, as did the Authority, that such conduct is at the core of the prohibition against anti-competitive agreements and practices, and constitutes a restriction of competition by object, says Legal Director Karin Stakkestad Laastad.
Read the Norwegian Competition Tribunal’s press release here.
This is the case:
- 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 Norwegian Competition Tribunal.
- On 25 November 2021, the Competition Tribunal upheld the Competition Authority’s decision.
Public version of the Norwegian Competition Authority’s decision