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PR(09)78: The EFTA Surveillance Authority closes its investigation of the express bus sector in Norway

13.11.2009

The Authority has finalised its investigation into the express bus sector in Norway. The investigation was initiated in June 2008 when unannounced inspections were carried out at the premises of Nor-Way Bussekspress (NBE) and two of its members (see PR(08)33).

Express bus routes are routes that cross county borders and NBE is the umbrella organisation for a commercial express bus network throughout Norway. The routes in this network are operated by the individual members of NBE under the brand name Nor-Way Bussekspress.

Almost all express bus operators in Norway participate in the NBE co-operation and are shareholders in NBE. This includes Nettbus which holds 25% of the shares in NBE and operates several Nor-Way Bussekspress routes. In addition, Nettbus AS operates a second express bus network under the brand name TIMEkspressen.

The Authority's investigation has focused on the nation-wide co-operation that takes place within NBE. The Authority had doubts as to whether there is effective competition in the express bus sector in Norway. In particular, the fact that the largest bus companies are all members of the NBE network and shareholders in NBE has been regarded as a matter of concern as this could facilitate anti-competitive behaviour prohibited under the EEA competition rules.

However, after a careful examination of the information in its possession the Authority has not found any infringement of the EEA competition rules in the present case. Consequently, the Authority has decided to close this investigation.

For further information, please contact:

Per Andreas Bjørgan
Director
Competition and State Aid Directorate,
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 36


Tormod S Johansen

Deputy Director
Competition and State Aid Directorate
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 1841

 

Brussels, 13 November 2009




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