Brussels, 12 May 2010
Antitrust: Commission confirms unannounced inspections in the sector of stretch film for agricultural use
The European Commission can confirm that on 28th and 29th April 2010 Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of companies active in the bale wrap industry and on related markets in several Member States. Bale wrap is plastic stretch film used for the packaging and preservation of silage, hay or straw. The Commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and/or abuse of a dominant market position (respectively Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU).
The Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authorities.
Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step in antitrust proceedings. The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the inspected companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself. The Commission respects the rights of defence, in particular the right of companies to be heard in the Commission’s proceedings against them.
There is no strict deadline to complete inquiries into anticompetitive conduct. Their duration depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of each case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned co-operate with the Commission and the exercise of the rights of defence.