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Zásilkovna will allow its collection points to open up due to Antitrust Authority pressure

Translated by Milo Dvorak

11. 4. 2024

Business Newsletter #24

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Published by on 9 April 2024.

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For Zásilkovna's competitors, up to 3,400 Zásilkovna collection points that have been exclusive to the company will now be open to competition.

The shipping company Zásilkovna allegedly required that the contracted retailers not allow competing courier services to enter into business with them. The Antitrust Authority has on the grounds of these allegations been investigating the company since the end of 2020. Zásilkovna has now committed to changing the contracts for the retailers.

The company proposed a similar procedure itself, and the Antitrust Authority accepted it as a sufficient solution. Should they not have done so themselves, Zásilkovna was facing a fine of ten percent of its turnover, amounting to 7.25 billion crowns last year. The company must now amend the contracts within thirty days. "As a result of the decision, over 3,400 collection points can now be open to other couriers as well, giving consumers a greater parcel-pick-up choice" stated the ÚOHS in a press release.

In addition to the restriction of the collection point to a single supplier, the Authority also objected to the fact that the establishments were not allowed to enter into a contract with another company for up to a year after the termination of the contract. "Zásilkovna, meanwhile, had a high market share in the relevant market segment for the delivery of small consignments of up to thirty kilograms to collection points, especially in the segment of delivery to external collection points, falling well within the purview of the assessed no competition clauses," the Authority added.

As part of the administrative proceedings, the company has submitted a proposal according to which retailers, with whom the company has had a contract for more than two years, will be allowed to open the collection point to other couriers as well. However, this will be subject to meeting certain, further unspecified quality criteria. Zásilkovna has not yet commented on the Antitrust Authority's decision.

Earlier, however, the company told that it had competition clauses in the contracts to prevent anyone from parasitising on its know-how, which has reportedly occured several times in the past. "Without taking such steps, it would be realistic for such a situation to arise, as has repeatedly already occured; our company commits its own effort, know-how, financial resources and so forth to open and establish a collection point, while competing entities just wait until such a collection point becomes known to customers. And then they set up their own collection point in its premises, practically effortlessly," commented the company's spokesperson Štěpán Dlouhý at the end of last year.

The administrative proceedings continued even though the company changed owners at the end of last year. The Packeta group, of which Zásilkovna is a member, now belongs to a consortium formed by the multinational investor CVC, Emma Capital group of Jiří Šmejc, and the investment company R2G founded by Oldřich Šlemr.

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