Investigate their additional discounts on fuel for users and a possible increase in fuel prices at automatic gas stations
The National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) has initiated a sanctioning file against Repsol for possible anti-competitive practices, constituting an "abuse of a dominant position", in the wholesale distribution market for automotive fuels in Spain, it was announced the organism.
The body chaired by Cani Fernández limits the investigation to Repsol Comercial de Productos Petrolófilos, Repsol Directo, Repsol Customer Centric, Solred, Campsa Estaciones de Servicio and Repsol, as a group that is present throughout the value chain of the production and marketing process of automotive fuels.
Specifically, the CNMC considered that the oil company would have taken advantage of its dominant position in the wholesale hydrocarbon market in Spain to carry out, from March to December 2022, conduct such as offering additional discounts on fuel to users of its service stations. through applications or loyalty and payment cards, as well as increasing the price that third-party competitors - independent service stations - pay the company to acquire fuel on the wholesale market.
Thus, Competition estimated that, given Repsol's position in the wholesale market, these behaviors would have represented an "exclusionary" strategy against third-party competitors - independent service stations -.
Furthermore, the agency added that these behaviors would have had the capacity to erode the commercial margins of said competitors and limit competition in retail distribution.
In its statement, the CNMC warned that these behaviors could constitute a possible violation of article 2 of Law 15/2007 of July 3 on the Defense of Competition (LDC) and article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). ).
However, the initiation of this file does not prejudge the final result of the investigation, at the same time that a maximum period of 24 months is now open for its investigation and resolution.
REPSOL STRONGLY REJECTS THE FILE AND DENIES DOMAIN POSITION.
For their part, Repsol sources consulted by Europa Press "flatly" rejected this file opened by the CNMC and assured that the company "does not have a dominant position in the Spanish fuel market and strictly complies with the regulation regarding competence".
Likewise, they recalled that Repsol has made "an enormous effort to help its customers through discounts and thus address price increases derived from the war in Ukraine", with more than 500 million euros allocated to discounts at its stations. of service in Spain.
For this reason, they considered that the Competition agency has opened a sanctioning file "for a measure aimed at favoring consumers."
This investigation began following complaints filed by the National Association of Automatic Service Stations (AESAE) and the Association of Independent Hydrocarbon Marketers for practices contrary to articles 2 of the LDC and 102 TFEU.
Suspecting the existence of possible anti-competitive practices, the CNMC opened confidential information (article 49.2 of the LDC) and carried out a home inspection at Repsol's headquarters.
And in December of last year, the CNMC already proceeded to search the headquarters of Repsol itself, as well as the two other major oil companies in the country -Cepsa and BP-. However, the file announced now is no longer collective and only affects and focuses on Repsol, a company that has been especially belligerent against a possible continuation of the Government's special tax on energy companies.