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Ilyashev & Partners Won a Case Against the AMCU in the Supreme Court, Proving Impossibility of Anti-Competitive Concerted Actions Between the Control-Related Companies

News date: 28 September 2020

The team of Antitrust and Competition Practice of Ilyashev & Partners Law Firm defended the interests of Municipal Enterprise International Airport Kyiv (Zhulyany) named after I. Sikorsky, as well as of Master-Avia LLC, which is engaged in the development and maintenance of the airport, in the case pertaining to the alleged anti-competitive concerted actions, which led to the restrictions on competition in the ground handling market within the territory of the airport.

The dispute actually arose in connection with the conclusion back in 2014 of the Master Agreement for the provision of ground handling services to the aircraft between Master-Avia LLC and ME IA Kyiv (Zhulyany), allegedly on the basis of which one of the handling companies, which previously operated at the airport, was denied a contract extension.

In November 2018, the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (hereinafter – the AMCU) issued a Decision No. 635-р in the case No. 136-26.13/20-17 on violation by Master-Avia LLC and ME IA Kyiv (Zhulyany) of the legislation on protection of economic competition and imposition of fines.

In order to defend the client’s interests, Ilyashev & Partners appealed against the AMCU’s decision to the court.

By upholding the decisions in favor of the claimants, issued earlier by the court of first instance and the court of appeal, the Supreme Court confirmed the legality of actions undertaken by Master-Avia LLC and ME IA Kyiv (Zhulyany) and revoked the AMCU’s decision on imposition of fines.

“Since these companies – following the merger allowed by the AMCU – became control-related companies, the Supreme Court agreed with the findings of the Commercial Court of Kyiv City and the Northern Commercial Court of Appeal that the agreements concluded between them cannot be considered anti-competitive concerted actions, – commented on the decision the Partner, Attorney at Law, Head of Antitrust and Competition Practice Oleksandr Fefelov. – In addition, the Supreme Court confirmed that the text of the Master Agreement for the provision of ground handling services at the IA Kyiv contains no provisions aimed at restricting competition in the market of ground handling services at the airport”.

Ilyashev & Partners represented the interests of Master-Avia LLC and ME IA Kyiv (Zhulyany) at all stages of litigation up to the Supreme Court.

It will be recalled that in 2010, ME IA Kyiv (Zhulyany) leased the entire property complex to Master-Avia LLC, except for the runway and social infrastructure facilities. The merger was aimed at restructuring the ME to make a profit and develop the company. Within the framework of the investment project, Master-Avia LLC has invested about USD 93 million in the construction of three terminals: international terminal A, terminal D for domestic flights and terminal B for business aviation, as well as passenger and ground services.