The UK Competition And Markets Authority has increased its fine against Roland UK from £4 million to £5 million, following an appeal against the initial fine.
Back in June 2020, Korg and Roland were fined a total £5.5 million for price-fixing by the watchdog. Roland has since made an appeal that “its conduct was not sufficiently serious to justify such a high fine and that the CMA should have awarded it a higher leniency discount.” These arguments were dismissed by the CMA.
The leniency discount is afforded to fined companies that cooperated with the CMA, and provide details on any Retail Price Maintenance (RPM) activity. In this case, Roland’s fine from 2011 to 2012 was reduced by 100 per cent and its fine from 2013 to 2018 was reduced by 20 per cent.
The fine was increased as the CMA and the Competition Appeal Tribunal agreed that “by appealing against the CMA’s decision, Roland had breached its bargain with the CMA to accept a lower fine in return for agreeing not to appeal. It decided that Roland should therefore lose the benefit of its 20% settlement discount. As a result, Roland’s fine was increased to just over £5 million, an increase of more than £1 million.”
The CMA’s Executive Director of Enforcement, Michael Grenfell, said: “This is an important judgment from the Tribunal and sends a strong message that when a company agrees to end an investigation through a settlement, it cannot reopen the question by appealing without losing its discount. This reinforces the CMA’s view that settlements should be final.
“The judgment also shows that conspiring to keep prices high by restricting discounting of products is a serious breach of competition law and can result in significant fines.”