Swiss Post welcomes COMCO ruling that its equity participation in KLARA complies with competition law
The Secretariat of the Competition Commission (COMCO) has informed Swiss Post, after market monitoring, that it does not currently see any signs of unauthorized cross-subsidizing in relation to Swiss Post’s equity participation in KLARA Business Ltd (KLARA). The COMCO Secretariat also considers the allegation that Swiss Post would abuse its monopoly data in its cooperation with KLARA to be unjustified. It has reached the conclusion that there is currently no need to conduct any further investigation into this matter. Swiss Post has acknowledged this positive ruling and considers this to be a confirmation that its position to date, i.e. its participation in the company KLARA, does not violate legal directives nor impede free competition.
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KLARA Business Ltd (KLARA) helps SMEs and private households in Switzerland to digitize and simplify administrative tasks such as payslip management, accounting and customer data management. Swiss Post has owned a majority stake in KLARA since the autumn of 2020. Subsequently, there was criticism that with this participation, Swiss Post was violating the Cartel Act and distorting competition. One critic brought these allegations to the attention of the COMCO Secretariat via an official complaint, amongst others. Consequently, COMCO undertook what is known as market monitoring. The findings are now in.
There are no indications of cross-subsidization or abuse of data monopoly by Swiss Post
In its decision, the COMCO Secretariat states that it currently sees no signs that Swiss Post is distorting competition with its participation in KLARA. The authority considers it credible that Swiss Post and KLARA charge for their services to one another at the usual market prices. Similarly, the COMCO Secretariat sees no indication that KLARA is pursuing a “low price strategy”, as was alleged in the announcement by a KLARA competitor, so the allegation of unauthorized cross-subsidization of KLARA by Swiss Post could not be substantiated. There was also an allegation that Swiss Post was improperly providing monopoly data to its subsidiary, KLARA. This allegation could not be substantiated in the COMCO Secretariat’s market monitoring. The regulator could not identify any abuse of monopoly data in Swiss Post’s participation in KLARA and therefore no breach of competition law.
Swiss Post is acting according to legal directives – including in its acquisitions
Swiss Post welcomes this positive ruling and considers this to be confirmation that its position to date does not violate legal directives nor impede free competition. “The COMCO Secretariat’s decision, following market monitoring, not to open proceedings is important for Swiss Post,” says Nicole Burth, Head of Communication Services and Member of Executive Management at Swiss Post. “We are aware of our responsibilities when making investments in our future,” she continues. “We were always convinced that our participation in KLARA did not breach competition law. We do not undertake any unauthorized cross-financing with KLARA and we do not pass on unauthorized data or logins. This applies just as much to KLARA as to all other Swiss Post subsidiaries.”
Denise Birchler, Swiss Post Media Unit, 058 341 10 55, firstname.lastname@example.org