Case opened: January 2013
Case References: MP-SIP/0034/
The OFT has opened a public consultation on its provisional decision to accept formal commitments offered by Certas Energy UK Limited and DCC plc, that aim to address its competition concerns.
The commitments have been offered in response to the OFT's investigation of Certas' conduct under Chapter II of the Competition Act 1998 ('the Act'). The OFT has not issued a Statement of Objections and the commitments, if accepted, will bring the investigation to an end without the OFT proceeding to a decision as to whether or not the Act has been infringed.
In January 2013, the OFT launched a formal investigation into the distribution of road fuels in the Western Isles of Scotland by GB Oils Limited ('GB Oils'). On 27 September 2013, GB Oils changed its name to Certas Energy UK Limited ('Certas'). The investigation is under Chapter II of the Act and relates to suspected abuse of a dominant position. The investigation does not relate to excessive pricing and was not prompted by the OFT's previous review of pricing, Petrol and Diesel Pricing in the Scottish Islands.
During the course of its investigation, the OFT has undertaken a number of investigative steps to gather evidence from Certas and other third parties. These steps included the sending of formal notices requiring documents and information under section 26 of the Act to a number of parties, and obtaining further substantive evidence through meetings, telephone conferences, and witness interviews with relevant individuals.
Following discussions with the OFT, Certas and its parent company DCC Plc offered formal commitments to the OFT. On 18 March 2014, the OFT published a notice of its intention to accept binding commitments (pdf 509kb) and invited representations from interested third parties on this proposed course of action. The commitments offered are set out at Annexe 1 to the notice. The OFT has also published a set of questions and answers relating to the proposed commitments and the OFT's consultation.
Formal acceptance of the commitments by the OFT would result in the termination of the investigation, with no decision made as to whether or not the Act has been infringed.
Any person wishing to comment on the commitments should submit written representations to the postal or email address given below, by 17 April 2014. Please quote the case reference MP-SIP/0034 in all correspondence related to this matter.
Western Isles Fuels Commitments Consultation
Office of Fair Trading
2-6 Salisbury Square
London EC4Y 8JX
The OFT closes on 31 March 2014, after which this consultation and any decision in the investigation becomes the responsibility of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Correspondence sent to the addresses above will be forwarded to the CMA.
In July 2013, the OFT took the decision to extend its investigation of Certas' conduct in the Western Isles to cover certain matters in the Shetland Islands. In March 2014, the OFT closed its investigation of Certas' conduct in the Shetland Islands for reasons of administrative priority. Having assessed the evidence that it had gathered to date, and taking into account the significant differences between the road fuels markets in the Shetland Islands and the Western Isles, the OFT considered that the likelihood of further investigation of Certas' conduct in the Shetland Islands resulting in a successful case outcome did not justify the expenditure of the significant resources that such further investigation would require. If any new evidence is provided to the OFT, then that decision will be reviewed.
First published: 18 January 2013
|Investigation opened||8 January 2013 (actual)|
|First Stop/Go Decision||April 2013
|Further investigation: information gathering, including issuance of formal or informal information requests and parties' responses||May 2013 -June 2013 (actual)|
|OFT analysis and review of parties' responses to information requests||June 2013- July 2013 (actual)|
|Decision to proceed with investigation||July 2013
|Further analysis and information gathering||July - Oct 2013 (actual)|
|Decision to proceed with investigation||October 2013 (actual)|
|OFT consideration of the commitments offer from Certas Energy UK Limited and DCC Plc and discussion with the parties||November 2013 -March 2014|
|Consultation opened on commitments proposed by Certas Energy UK Limited and DCC Plc||18 March 2014 (actual)|
|Consultation period||18 March 2014 - 17 April 2014 (actual)|
|Launch of the Competition and Markets Authority||1 April 2014 (actual)|
|CMA consideration of submissions received in response to the consultation||April - May 2014 (estimate)|
|Final CMA decision on proposed commitments||May - June 2014 (estimate)|
Brian Jackson (020 7211 8446, email@example.com)
James Macbeth (020 7211 8958, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ann Pope (020 7211 8786, email@example.com)
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