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Bulgaria: Shell probed over alleged price-fixing

 |  February 28, 2016

Bulgaria launched a probe into alleged price-fixing by seven oil firms including Lukoil and Shell, accusing them of keeping fees artificially high despite a global slump in the cost of crude. The other companies under investigation are Romania’s Rompetrol, Greece’s Hellenic Petroleum, Austria’s OMV, Serbia’s Nis Petrol and Bulgarian Petrol.

Russian-owned giant Lukoil – which runs Bulgaria’s only oil refinery – is also suspected of abusing its dominant market position, the commission for protection of competition said. “There was a stable trend between 2012 and July 2015 for Lukoil to sell its products in the country at higher prices compared to the prices at which the refinery was selling its fuels destined for other countries,” the watchdog said in a statement.

At the same time, the retailers’ fuel prices were kept unusually high in the EU’s poorest member state, not reflecting the drops in international fuel production and wholesale prices, the commission added. “This was likely a result of anti-competition practices – cartel agreements,” the CPC said.

Full content: Business Recorder

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