Federal competition authority – 20 house searches in the garbage industry

The Federal Competition Authority (BWB) has been conducting house searches at waste management companies since Tuesday, including at the Styrian Saubermacher AG and at Brantner in Lower Austria. It is about the suspicion of illegal agreements. Energie AG in Upper Austria made the investigation against its waste subsidiary public itself on Thursday. The BWB then confirmed that offices of several companies at over 20 locations in several federal states are being searched.

In response to an APA request, the Styrian waste disposal company Saubermacher confirmed that it had received a visit from the BWB. As a spokeswoman said, there have been “selective checks”. They want to cooperate fully with the authorities. The Lower Austrian waste disposal company Brantner also confirmed to the APA that their investigators had also checked. As a smaller company, in contrast to the big players in the industry, it is only marginally affected.

At Energie AG, the premises at the Hörsching site were searched. Energie AG, which is majority owned by the state of Upper Austria through the state holding company, stated in a press release that as a customer-oriented company, its “transparent and fair competitive conditions for the benefit of customers are an important concern”. Energie AG Oberösterreich Umwelt Service GmbH is actively involved in the investigation and has assured the BWB that it will cooperate fully.

Suspicion of price fixing and market allocation

As the BWB announced, the companies are suspected of having violated antitrust regulations for a long time. The suspicion includes price agreements, market sharing and agreements in tenders. According to the authority, private households, industry and companies can be considered as potentially injured parties. The investigations are supported by the Federal Criminal Police Office and the State Criminal Police Office.

In addition to Upper and Lower Austria and Styria, companies in Carinthia, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria and Vienna are also searched. The BWB did not name the companies concerned. The investigation is primarily about collection and logistics.

The waste management market in Austria comprises around 300 companies, in addition to several national corporations, there are many smaller companies. For the companies, the supposed garbage is a billion dollar business. The industry has an annual turnover of more than five billion euros. According to BWB, the six largest companies have a combined turnover of around two billion euros. (apa)

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