Don’t compete unfairly

07 Fair competition

Free and fair competition leads to the best outcomes for consumers, society and our business. We fully support competition and ethical conditions, within the local legal frameworks of wherever we operate.

Three key things

1

Carefully follow the relevant competition or antitrust laws wherever we operate

2

Never use our position as market leader to restrict competition

3

Legal assistance is always available to you for competition law issues

Definitions

Competition law prohibits all agreements between companies, decisions by associations of companies and concerted practices which have as their object the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition. Even where agreements do not have this purpose, they are prohibited if their consequences are those mentioned above.

Competition rules apply to any situation, formal or informal, e.g. social events, informal social gatherings as well as meetings and workshops.

When holding a dominant market position in the relevant markets, we need to be especially aware of the effects that our decisions have on customers, competitors and service providers. A dominant market position is not prohibited, but abuse of it is.

Do the right thing

As an international business our activities can be subject to competition legislation, at national or regional level.

Although specific legislation will vary, it will generally prevent competitors from seeking to share markets, fix prices or otherwise affect competition. It will also prevent companies in a dominant market position from abusing that position.

We don’t engage in any practices or activities that breach relevant competition or antitrust laws.

In particular, we’re careful to never:

  • Take actions that hamper or harm customers, competitors or service providers, or that could be seen as contrary to competition law
  • Recording and placing all gifts with a market value above USD 50 in the company gift repository
  • Recording all gifts received by employees engaged in a supplier selection process regardless of the value

When you or any of our representatives contact an actual or potential competitor, follow the relevant competition law carefully.

In particular, never:

  • Discuss or agree prices (historic, current or projected), pricing policies/formulas, profit margins or similar sensitive issues
  • Discuss or agree marketing, market areas, customers or suppliers
  • Fix a minimum price or give resellers strong incentives – e.g. better contract terms – to maintain a minimum price
  • Agree to refuse to deal with a supplier or customer
  • Discuss or seek the adoption of standards that restrict the development or use of technologies, or exclude rivals, suppliers or customers

In practice

How do I know whether we are in a dominant position?

The definition of dominance depends on the geographic and product market – speak with your Legal Affairs Officer.

A competitor has approached me to discuss the future market situation – I think prices will be discussed, too. How should I respond?

Don’t engage in this kind of discussion. If possible, document your rejection of the request. If you feel you need help, speak with your Legal Affairs Officer.

Find out more

If an issue around competition law arises, or you’re unsure how the law applies to a situation, speak with your Legal Affairs Officer as soon as possible, while agreements, pricing decisions or other measures are still at an early stage of planning.

We always provide legal assistance for competition law issues.

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