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Competition

PR(01)16: Statement on reverse vending machines inspections

13.9.2002

Following enquiries from journalists, the EFTA Surveillance Authority confirmed that on 26 September 2001, inspectors from the EFTA Surveillance Authority, the European Commission and officials from national competition authorities began surprise inspections at the premises of Tomra ASA and its subsidiaries in Norway, Germany and the Netherlands.

The purpose of these inspections is to uncover evidence of suspected practices by Tomra ASA concerning the supply of reverse vending machines and related products and services, in particular in the context of exclusivity agreements or arrangements, which may constitute abuses of a dominant position in the sense of Article 82 of the EC Treaty and Article 54 of the EEA Agreement, or evidence that Tomra ASA may have concluded agreements or may be party to concerted practices which are in conflict with Article 81 of the EC Treaty and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement.

The EFTA Surveillance Authority carried out inspections in Norway at the request of the European Commission, the latter being the competent surveillance authority under the EEA Agreement to review the evidence gathered in this case.  Information obtained in Norway will thus be transmitted to the Commission.

The European Commission's investigation is at a preliminary stage and does not prejudge the final outcome. There is no strict timetable for concluding antitrust investigations which depends on whether or not the Commission finds evidence of anti-competitive behaviour, on the co-operation or not of the companies involved and on the complexity of each case.

The EFTA Surveillance Authority may undertake inspections on its own initiative or at the request of the European Commission, depending on the circumstances and on the possible allocation of jurisdiction under the EEA Agreement in each case.

For further information please contact Mr. Amund Utne (Director of Competition and State Aid) on tel. (32)-02-286 18 50.

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