Spanish Supreme Court upholds Amurrio’s innocence and annuls CNMC’s sanctions

by | Feb 13, 2023 | Press releases | 0 comments

After seven years of litigation

The Supreme Court certifies the innocence of AMURRIO Ferrocarril y Equipos against the sanctioning resolution issued by the CNMC, which fined the company and its directors for alleged anti-competitive practices. Practices that in no way have been given as first concluded the National Court and as just ratified by the SC. “Time has proven us right and justice has ruled clearly and forcefully against the unjust resolution of the Competition Chamber of the CNMC. Nobody is going to repair the damage caused in terms of lost hours, costs of the process, and loss of image, even at international level, by that unfounded resolution”, AMUFER has stated.

They have done us a lot of harm but, fortunately, the courts have gone to the heart of the matter and have verified the demonstrable reality with the precision and professionalism that a matter of this nature deserves, and we are pleased with this. In short, they ratify everything that has been maintained by this party from the beginning and reinforce the goodness and fairness of our actions“, added the sources mentioned.

On October 7, 2014, members of the National Commission of Markets and Competition, accompanied by several units of the Civil Guard, broke into the facilities of Amurrio Ferrocarril y Equipos.

The company’s management at all times showed its absolute willingness to collaborate, as is logical. However, in June 2016 the CNMC resolved to declare the existence of a single and continuous infringement of the provisions of Article 1 of Law 15/2007, of July 3, 2007, on the Defense of Competition, and Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, consisting of agreements or concerted practices for market sharing, the fixing of prices or other commercial conditions, and the exchange of sensitive commercial information in relation to the supply of railway turnouts in procurement procedures called by GIF/ADIF, which has been carried out at least since July 1, 1999 and until at least October 7, 2014.

It declared the company responsible for said infringement imposing a fine of 1.2 million euros and, for the first time in the history of the CNMC, imposing a financial penalty on the persons responsible for the infringement, Josu de Lapatza and Jon de Lapatza.

In view of this resolution, AMUFER claimed its innocence and started its defense before the National Court because the fact that the supply to Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias (ADIF) and, before that, to its predecessor Gestora de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias (ADIF), was jointly (in a joint venture) by the Spanish manufacturers has its origin in the purpose of the GIF/ADIF itself to ensure that the high-speed rail turnouts were manufactured in Spain, using the best existing technologies, in practically impossible deadlines and that they had demonstrable experience of good operation and maximum safety.

And because in this context, the creation of joint ventures was also essential to unify these technologies and to be able to compete in the tendering procedures for railway turnouts called by the GIF/ADIF, especially when the tendering of large volumes – already unaffordable alone by any company in the industry – was added to the supply of the turnouts in a short period of time.

The National High Court, specifically the Administrative Chamber, Sixth Section, validating the veracity of these proven arguments, issued on January 26, 2022 a ruling in favor of the interests of Amurrio Ferrocarril y Equipos, annulling the decision of the Competition Chamber of the CNMC and sentencing the Commission to pay the costs. However, the CNMC appealed to the Supreme Court who on January 19 has declared the inadmissibility of the cassation appeal prepared by the State Attorney and being condemned again costs, thus closing the judicial chapter because no further appeal is possible.

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