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EUROMOVERS International

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15 Spanish Movers fined for Price fixing

Nov 23, 2016
Spain's Justice System has fined 15 international moving companies a total of €4.09million for market sharing (price fixing).

The National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC) fined the companies for operating a cartel over the last 15 years. 

The movers provided international moving services for diplomats and officials from various ministries for mainly the Foreign Office, Defence (CNI, National Police and Civil Guard), Education (Cervantes Institute), Economics (Trade), Chairman, Labour, Agriculture and Environment, Industry and Tourism. 
The companies that the regulator has imposed the highest fines are SIT Grupo Empresarial (over €1.5 million; Interdean (€693,905) – the company had its fine reduced by 30% (equivalent to €297,388) having provided evidence of infringement; The Vascongada (€83,700); and Mudanzas Flippers Internacional (€308,422).    

The other companies fined are Caballero Moving (€191,841); Transferex (€190,733); AGS (€176,284); Hasenkamp Relocation Services Spain (€146,500); La Toledana (€116,250); Mundivan (€83,721); Euromonde (€59,939); Sancho Ortega International (€52,499); Mudanzas Rumbo (€34,307); PROCOEX (€33,879); and Gil Stauffer Madrid (€12,747).  

A report published in Spain claimed that CNMC had established that for over 15 years, various members of the cartel carried out their anticompetitive behaviour by means known as ‘agreement amongst movers’. They were organised through business lunches and dinner meetings, which were held regularly every year and which set prices and other commercial conditions for the business to be distributed and for sensitive information to be exchanged. 

“FIDI has reached out to the FIDI Affiliates involved in order to get further information on this matter, both on what has happened in the past and what actions they have taken ...”
Jesse van Sas

The CNMC considered that a market had taken place in which each company was assigned a percentage and the price for the work performed.  It was reported that the cartel had increased prices of services provided to the state, which in some cases reached profits of up to €12,000 euros per job.  The extra costs were paid by the Spanish Public Administration.  It was claimed that the companies also agreed by consensus what additional services to offer ministries, such as the number of free months of storage, maintenance services and pet transport.   

The 15 companies involved included some FIDI members.  Jesse van Sas, General Manager of FIDI, commented: “FIDI has reached out to the FIDI Affiliates involved in order to get further information on this matter, both on what has happened in the past and what actions they have taken, and/or will take, to eliminate such business practices, and to assure that they will not recur in the future. It is important to note that the Spanish Commission for Markets and Competition is an administrative body and not a court. We understand that many of the related movers will be appealing this case in a court of justice.”  

He continued: “FIDI will continue to monitor the situation and keep the membership informed of developments.  FIDI is built on the principles of trust, integrity and the highest standards of behaviour. Compliance with the anti-competition laws and regulations is an intrinsic part of that trust and integrity, and these are built into our programmes and services. FIDI will continue to increase its efforts in this respect.” 

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