“The conducted proceedings showed that Eurocash collected from suppliers of agricultural and food products a number of additional and unjustified fees. Some of the services paid for by contractors were not performed at all, and some of the company should provide under the signed contract without additional remuneration. they did not receive information about the costs and results of certain services. The aim of this type of Eurocash activity was to lower the remuneration of entities supplying stores with agricultural and food products, “Tomasz Chróstny, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) announced in a press release.
“The value of the unjustified benefit obtained by Eurocash as a result of the questioned practices towards entities for which the company had a contractual advantage, determined in the course of the proceedings, amounted to over PLN 43 million in 2018-2020,” he added.
Eurocash does not fully agree with the decision of the Office and intends to exercise its right of appeal to the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection.
“The court will decide whether the decision of the Office will be revoked, upheld or changed. The final amount of the fine and the payment date will be determined after the appeal procedure is completed and the final judgment in the above-mentioned case is issued,” the company said in its announcement.
The main activity of Eurocash is wholesale and retail sale of food and everyday products. The entrepreneur, also through subsidiaries, is the owner of the largest chain of wholesalers in Poland and the organizer of numerous retail chains, including: ABC, Delikatesy Centrum, Lewiatan, Gama, Groszek and Euro Sklep.
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The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKIK) announced today that a fine of over PLN 76 million has been imposed on Eurocash – a wholesale food distributor to nearly 80,000 independent Polish stores. According to the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, the reason for such a decision is that Eurocash uses its contractual advantage over suppliers – including the largest global food concerns. According to UOKiK, the suppliers allegedly affected include companies located in Poland that are part of such giants as the Nestle concern (the largest food producer in the world), the American Kraft Heinz, the French Danone or the German Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller.
The Eurocash Group does not agree with the decision of the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, including the statement that the company has a contractual advantage over foreign concerns. If this were the case, there would be no situation where the prices offered to discounters by producers are significantly lower than producer prices in the supply channel of independent Polish stores.
– The imposition of a fine on Eurocash will most likely strengthen the discriminatory practices of suppliers towards the segment of Polish independent stores, which will further worsen their competitiveness in relation to discount chains. It is not in the interest of the Polish consumer or the Polish economy – says Jacek Owczarek, member of the management board of Eurocash SA.
– The determination by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection that Eurocash has a contractual advantage over part of the largest food concern in the world illustrates well the problem of a possible misinterpretation of the definition of a contractual advantage. UOKIK should not protect global corporations from a wholesaler whose main activity is focused on organizing deliveries and improving the competitiveness of nearly 80,000 Polish stores – adds Jacek Owczarek.
Eurocash does not agree with this decision in its entirety and intends to exercise the right to appeal to the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection against this decision. The final amount of the penalty and the payment date will be determined after the appeal procedure is completed and the final judgment is issued in the above-mentioned case.