Volume 37 (2014) / Issue 2
The article discusses a recent antitrust case brought against Russian manufacturers of large diameter pipes (LDPs) that aimed to investigate supposed collusive practices that contradicted the law 'On the Protection of Competition', which prohibits market sharing and restricting production. The Russian competition agency (FAS) confirmed the infringement under Article 11 of the law 'On the Protection of Competition', but at the same time exempted companies from liability under Article 13, which allows applying rule of reason to agreements which promote efficiency. We presume the infringement charge was based on weak substantial evidence standards. The case under consideration illustrates the importance of investigating the institutional details when qualifying the actions of market participants and their effects. The analysis of the evidence in this case indicates that the nature of cooperation between pipe manufacturing companies and OJSC Gazprom, namely indicative planning, may be explained from the perspective of reducing contract risk in an environment characterized by large-scale investment.
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