EU's Preliminary Conclusion Finds Slovak Telekom Breached Antitrust Law
05/08/2012| 03:49am US/Eastern
European Union antitrust authorities said Tuesday they had reached a "preliminary conclusion" that Slovak Telekom has breached EU competition law, including charging unfair wholesale prices aimed at imposing a margin squeeze on competitors.
The EU also said in a statement that Slovak Telekom's parent company, Deutsche Telekom AK (>> Deutsche Telekom AG), "may be liable for the conduct of its subsidiary" because of "the nature and degree of its links" with Slovak Telekom.
Deutsche Telekom owns a 51% stake in the Slovak company.
The EU Tuesday delivered a statement of objections to the two companies, a formal step in the antitrust procedure where the EU informs the parties in writing about the objections raised against them.
The companies can still set out the relevant facts in their defense so the EU's move Tuesday doesn't prejudge the outcome of the investigation.
The case against Slovak Telekom is that it may have refused to supply unbundled access to competitors to parts of its network and may have imposed a "margin squeeze on alternative operators by charging unfair wholesale prices."
The EU also said Slovak Telekom had "used delaying tactics and obstructed negotiations" with competitors over access to the company's networks.
-By Laurence Norman, Dow Jones Newswires; +32 (0)2 741 1 481; firstname.lastname@example.org