NICOSIA, March 28 (Reuters) - Cyprus’s competition regulator has found signs of price fixing among four leading petrol retailers, the watchdog said on Wednesday.
It has summoned Petrolina Holdings PHL.CY, ExxonMobil Cyprus, Hellenic Petroleum Cyprus and Lukoil Cyprus to explain their pricing structures after finding a prima facie case against the four.
“We found suggestions of identical pricing policy among the four companies, and an apparent practice of each one of them setting prices among their dealers,” Competition Commission chairman George Christofides told Reuters.
The preliminary finding is that there is scope for further investigation and does not imply a conclusion. The companies will now have to respond to statements of objections compiled by the competition commission, and the process could take several more months.
One company dismissed the initial finding. “We reject any suggestion of a cartel in the market,” Petrolina’s Akis Lefkaritis told the Phileleftheros daily.
Cyprus opened an inquiry against petrol companies in late 2005, focused on retail prices of 95 and 98 octane unleaded fuel and low-sulphur fuel.
Companies found violating competition laws can be given recommendations to clean up their act, or be fined up to 10 percent of annual turnover.