On Monday, 14 March, the Supreme Court dismissed the complaint of AS Eesti Post, the purpose of which was to oblige the Estonian Competition Authority to continue supervision over the pricing policy of AS Express Post.
Express Post handles the early-morning delivery of periodicals in and around larger cities, providing the service mainly to its parent companies AS Ekspress Grupp and AS Postimees Grupp. Eesti Post also wanted to buy the service from Express Post to resell it. However, the postal companies did not reach an agreement on the price because Express Post allegedly charged a higher fee from Eesti Post than from its parent companies.
Eesti Post lodged a complaint with the Estonian Competition Authority alleging that Express Post is the dominant company in the early-morning home delivery market for newspapers in cities and has a significant tool, and that such companies are prohibited from treating customers unequally.
The Estonian Competition Authority did not find an infringement and terminated the supervision proceedings. The Authority took the view that Eesti Post, as a competitor of Express Post, could challenge distinctive pricing only if there was an important tool under the control of Express Post. That would mean a network or infrastructure that is necessary to operate in the market but which cannot be duplicated by other companies or the duplication of which would not be economically viable for them. In the opinion of the Authority, the home delivery network of Express Post is not an important tool, because Eesti Post itself has a nationwide postal service network.
Eesti Post challenged the termination of supervision in an administrative court, which upheld the complaint and ordered the Authority to continue the proceedings, but the circuit court annulled the decision. The Administrative Law Chamber of the Supreme Court also reached the same conclusion in the decision published on 14 March, but changed the reasoning of the circuit court.
Supreme Court website: