The Turkish Competition Authority ("TCA") had its final decision on the 3M case, which has been on the agenda of TCA for a long time. 3M case, which has been going on for over 10 years due to both the complainee's and the complainant's objections, concluded in April 2019.
In 2007, a company active in the workplace safety submitted a complaint to the TCA on the grounds that the conducts of 3M violated the article 4 and 6 of the Law No. 4054. The complainant alleged that 3M determined resale prices and put some distributors in a disadvantageous position compared to others by applying different discount rates. After a preliminary investigation in July 2007, the Turkish Competition Board ("Board") did not launch a full-fledged investigation despite the opposite opinion of case handlers.
This decision was appealed to the 13th Chamber of the Council of State of Ankara. The Court annulled the decision and concluded to the need of launching an investigation in November 2011. In compliance with this decision, the Board launched an investigation in May 2013 to decide on the allegations of price resale maintenance, allocation of customer's restrictions to distributors, discrimination among distributors and application of target-oriented discount to distributors. In June 2014, the Board once again concluded that 3M's practices did not constitute a violation of Article 4 of Law No. 4054.
The plaintiff appealed before the Administrative Court of Ankara and required the annulment of the Board's decision. In December 2015, the 15th Administrative Court of Ankara cancelled the Board's decision. In accordance with the Court's decision, the Board discussed the allegations and imposed an administrative fine. The Board took into consideration the annual turnover of 3M in 2013 in its administrative fine calculations and imposed an administrative fine of approximately 839,619 Euro, which corresponds to 0.5% of the undertaking's annual turnover in that year.
Subsequently, 3M brought the case before the 7th Administrative Court of Ankara, which cancelled the Board's decision on the grounds that the principle of applying the favourable regulation in the determination of the administrative fine was not taken into account. In this respect, the Board re-assess the case and had its final decision on 3M in April 2019. The Board decided that in case of any differences between the provisions of the Law in force at the time of the violation and the provisions of the Law, which came into force afterwards, the law in favour of the undertaking should be applied. The Board examined the annual turnovers of 3M for the years 2006 (the year before competition violation), 2013 and 2015 (the years the Board assessed the case after the courts' annulment decisions) and 2018 (the recent year before the last examination of case by the Board). After this examination of turnovers, in accordance with the related legislation and the court's decision, the TCA imposed an administrative fine of 486,964 Euro based on the annual turnover of 3M at the end of the fiscal year of 2006, which corresponds to 0.5% of the turnover in 2006.
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