The Turkish Competition Board Imposes Multiple Fines on Unilever Turkey
Ali Ilicak,Yagmur Kaya
The Turkish Competition Board (“the Board”) announced its final decision in relation to its investigation against Unilever San. ve Tic. Turk A.S. (“Unilever Turkey”) numbered 21-15/190-80, on 22 March 2021. You can see the announcement here (available in Turkish only).
In its meeting held on 18 March 2021, the Board finalized its investigation and unanimously decided that Unilever Turkey had violated both Article 4 and Article 6 of Competition Law No: 4054 (“the Law”), and imposed turnover-based monetary fines amounting to TRY 480 million.
In respect of Article 6 of the Law, the Board found that Unilever Turkey holds a dominant position in the ice cream market and that it had abused that position by implementing various discount systems. For this violation, the Board imposed Unilever Turkey with a fine amounting to TRY 275 million.
In respect of Article 4 of the Law the Board found a violation of a non-competition clause, which has been prohibited previously, stipulated in the contract between Unilever Turkey and Getir Perakende Lojistik A.S., an online grocery service. For this violation, the Board imposed Unilever Turkey with a fine amounting to TRY 205 million.
In addition to monetary fines, the Board also imposed a severe behavioral remedy. Accordingly, Unilever Turkey must allow its competitors to offer their products in the ice cream refrigerators that it lends to stores smaller than 100m2. If alternative ice-cream refrigerators do not exist in these stores, any commodatum agreement regarding ice-cream refrigerators should allow Unilever Turkey’s competitor products to be offered in the visible part of the refrigerator and 30% of its total volume. Please note that commodatum agreements refer to the loan of movable or immovable property that is utilized by a loanee for a certain period without payment. Most refrigerators are provided to stores in this way.
The Board will publish the reasoning for its decision at a later date.