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CADE’s General Superintendence opens proceeding to investigate cartel in the market of computer equipments

Cartel

Irregularities would have occurred in the sales of desktops, notebooks and tablets, among others
published: Jul 23, 2015 03:00 PM last modified: Apr 15, 2016 04:47 PM

The General Superintendence of the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) opened, on 23 July 2015, Administrative Proceeding to investigate alleged anticompetitive conducts in public bids for the acquisition of computer equipment and materials, such as desktops, laptops, tablets, interactive whiteboards and projectors, among others (Administrative Proceeding no. 08700.008098/2014-71).

The investigated parties are the companies Caleb G. Kieling & Cia. Ltda., Enge Áudio Comércio e Sonorização Ltda. ME, I 9 Soluções em Tecnologia e Informática Ltda. ME, Líder Suprimentos para Informática Ltda., MS Equipamentos e Assistência Técnica Ltda., Multicomp Informática Ltda., Positivo Informática S/A, Proxyline Informática Ltda., S&V Equipamentos para Escritório Ltda., Somaq Assistência e Equipamentos Ltda., and 18 individuals.

The investigation started from documents submitted to CADE in June of 2014, regarding Operation "Licitação Mapeada", conducted by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the State of Santa Catarina.

The Superintendence found evidence that the national sales policy of Positivo Informática could raise anticompetitive effects, especially in public bids for computer equipment and materials. The alleged conduct would include a geographic division of the market, associated with mapping and reservation of opportunities, by which Positivo would authorize a certain reseller to participate in a public bid, preventing the non-authorized ones to compete in the bids reserved for the other resellers.

Those not complying with such arrangement had their product supply refused, among other sanctions. As Positivo directly participated in bids – competing with its own resellers – there is evidence that this policy would create difficulties for competitors or would favor collusions among them.

Furthermore, Positivo would have centralized and passed on sensitive business information among resellers, influencing the adoption of uniform conducts among competitors. Some of them, which allegedly required protection to the mapped reseller to specific public bids, are also under investigation, such as S&V, Positivo’s reseller in Santa Catarina.

Regional Acting – CADE’s General Superintendence also found robust evidence of a cartel in public bids for the acquisition of computer equipment and materials in the States of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. Prior to the bids, S&V, Positivo’s reseller in the region, and MS would close a deal with the companies Líder, Proxyline, Somaq and Caleb Ltda. The companies decided which of them would take part in the bid, and which one would give up or cover for the company designated to win the bid. The goal was to distort and restrict free competition, and simulate a competition that actually did not exist between them.

With the opening of the Administrative Proceeding, the parties will be notified and required to present their defenses. At the end of the evidentiary stage, the General Superintendence will issue an opinion either on the condemnation or on the filing and will submit the case for judgment by CADE’s Tribunal, which is responsible for the final decision.