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Ski Lift Operators Fined by Anti-Trust Office

Ljubljana, 21 October (STA) - The Competition Protection Office has fined six Slovenian ski-lift operators for price fixing. The total fine imposed is close to EUR 2m, according to secretary-general of the Ski-Lift Operators' Association Marjan Cuk, who has announced an appeal.

Cuk told the STA on Thursday that the ski lift operators received the watchdog's ruling on Wednesday. He deems the total fine (for companies and officials in charge) very high.

"Since we are struggling to survive, this means certain ski resorts will consider discontinuing operations, because they cannot pay this kind of money, they don't have this kind of money."

He disagrees with the watchdog's finding of a cartel agreement between the operators. "We are being punished for giving discounts, not for profiting at the expense of fares," Cuk said.

He explained that ski lift operators only sought agreement on single ski pass for competitors and coaches, which is not sold commercially. He labelled the anti-trust office's finding a fabrication.

The office made the ruling in the proceedings against RTC Krvavec, Unior Kovaska industrija, ATC Kanin Bovec, Hotel Cerkno, SC Pohorje, RTC Zicnice Kranjska Gora and the Ski Lift Operator's Association in May.

It found that the operators had been fixing prices for ten years, or possibly even longer. Some estimates are that as a result of the cartel agreement, skiers paid 25% higher ski fares.

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