Competition and Markets Authority case

Distribution of road fuels in parts of Scotland

The Competition and Markets Authority investigated the distribution of road fuels in the Western Isles of Scotland by Certas Energy UK Limited.

Case References: MP-SIP/0034/

Case timetable

First published: 18 January 2013

Milestone Date
Investigation opened 8 January 2013 (actual)
First Stop/Go Decision April 2013 (actual)
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 (actual)
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 (‘Certas’) and DCC plc (‘DCC’) and discussion with the parties November 2013 - March 2014
Consultation opened on commitments proposed by Certas and DCC 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 (actual)
Consultation opened on proposed modifications to the commitments offered by Certas and DCC 22 May 2014 (actual)
Consultation period 22 May 2014 – 4 June 2014 (actual)
CMA consideration of submissions received in response to the consultation June 2014 (actual)
Commitments decision published and case closed 24 June 2014 (actual)

Decision to accept binding commitments

24 June 2014: The CMA published its decision to accept binding commitments from Certas Energy UK Limited and DCC plc following an investigation into a suspected abuse of a dominant position. Concomitant to the acceptance of the commitments, the CMA terminated its investigation, with no decision made on whether or not the Competition Act 1998 (the Act) had been infringed.

Invitation to comment on proposed modifications to commitments: Now closed

On 22 May 2014, the CMA published a Notice of intention to accept modified commitments offered by Certas Energy UK Limited and DCC plc and invited representations from interested third parties on the proposed modifications to the commitments previously offered by Certas and DCC.

Background

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 was under Chapter II of the Act and related to suspected abuse of a dominant position. The investigation did 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 undertook 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.

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. The OFT stated that if any new evidence was provided to it, then that decision would be reviewed.

On 18 March 2014, the OFT published a Notice of intention to accept binding commitments offered by Certas Energy UK Limited and DCC plc in relation to the Western Isles and invited representations from interested third parties on that proposed course of action. Responsibility for the investigation passed to the Competition and Markets Authority (‘the CMA’) on 1 April 2014. In May 2014, Certas and DCC proposed modifications to the commitments that they had previously offered.

On 22 May 2014, the CMA published a Notice of intention to accept modified commitments offered by Certas Energy UK Limited and DCC plc and invited representations from interested third parties on the proposed modifications to the commitments previously offered by Certas and DCC.

Further to consideration of the representations received in response to the two consultations described above, the CMA accepted commitments, which address its competition concerns, on 24 June 2014.

Contacts

Team leader

Brian Jackson (020 3738 6546, brian.jackson@cma.gsi.gov.uk)

Project director

James Macbeth (020 3738 6958, james.macbeth@cma.gsi.gov.uk)

Senior responsible officer

Ann Pope (020 3738 6786, ann.pope@cma.gsi.gov.uk)

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