Compass Lexecon Advises Avis Car Rental in Spain During Appeal of Cartel Decision

In August 2013, the Spanish competition authority (“CNMC”) fined seventeen companies and two associations in the car rental market for fixing prices between 2005 and 2011 (case S/0380/11). The CNMC found that a series of meetings were held, at which commercially sensitive information was exchanged and agreements were reached to coordinate competitor behavior.

Compass Lexecon provided our client, the Spanish subsidiary of Avis (Avis Alquile un Coche), with an economic analysis on the scope of the cartel, as well as its effects. We were also involved in the appeal of the fine to the Spanish National Court. We prepared a report commenting on the CNMC’s analysis of the relevant market and on the alleged effects of the conduct. In addition, one of our experts testified in court. In March 2016, the Court judged that for multiple reasons the CNMC did not correctly assess Avis’ involvement in the cartel and therefore considered it “not proven that the Spanish subsidiary of Avis (Avis Alquile un Coche, S.A.) participated in a price-fixing cartel existing between 2005 and 2011.”

In parallel proceedings, in January 2014 the CNMC fined AENA, AENA Aeropuertos and eleven car rental companies for having colluded by exchanging commercially sensitive information (case S/0404/12). In relation to these proceedings, Compass Lexecon carried out an economic assessment of the information exchange between car rental companies located in airports in Spain, including an evaluation of whether the arrangements were likely to lead to collusion and empirical analyses of the effects of the conduct on market prices.

The Compass Lexecon team included Jorge Padilla, Elena Zoido, Catalina Campillo, and Scott Holbrook.