On November 21, 2017, the National Commission for Markets and Competition (Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia or “CNMC”) imposed a fine of €187,677 on the National Association of Purebred Spanish Horse Breeders (ANCCE) for abusing its dominant position in the markets of contest regulations and lineage management for purebred Spanish horses.
ANCCE is an association of purebred Spanish horses’ breeders, whose purpose is the representation and defense of the breeders and the economic and social sector in which they develop their activity, as well as the promotion and preservation of the breed. Since 2007, ANCCE has been entrusted with the management of the studbook for purebred horses, along with the organization of competitions and the elaboration of their regulations. ANCCE has also marketed a horse management program, and owns different websites with information and photographs from the competitions.
After an investigation prompted by a complaint filed by MELPI, a company specialized in computer, commercial and promotional activities for purebred horses, the CNMC found proven various abusive practices performed by ANCCE.
For instance, since 2011, and following the reforms that ANCCE carried out in the contest rules for purebred Spanish horses, the only computer tool that was considered valid for the for data management activity in those competitions was the one developed by ANCCE itself. Until then, the technical secretaries that organized these shows had used a wide variety of computer tools for data management (including the MELPI program). However, since January 2011, ANCCE decided that any other program but its own was not approved.
This resulted in a restriction of competition in the technical secretariat services for these contests, as well as the reinforcement of ANCCE’s position in the market of the promotion of the purebred horse
Additionally, as of 2013, ANCCE eliminated those requirements, but imposed new obligations on the organizers of these competitions, such as a duty to publish the results of the competitions on the ANCCE website in real time and to record and photograph the shows to then send ANCCE copies, which reinforced once again its position in the purebred horse promotion market, and which the CNMC considered “arbitrary, discriminatory or not objective”.
Finally, in 2016, ANCCE introduced new changes in the contest regulations that implied that from then on, ANCCE was the only body allowed to contract certain services that had previously been entrusted to the different organizing committees, such as the computerized management of the results and photography and video at the shows.
On this basis, the CNMC declared that ANCCE had breached Article 2 of the Spanish Law for the Defense of Competition and Article 102 TFEU, and therefore imposed a fine of 187,677 euros, intimating the association to abstain from carrying out similar conducts in the future, and urging the Competition Directorate to monitor full compliance with the decision.
The decision issued by the CNMC is available (in Spanish) here: https://www.cnmc.es/sites/default/files/1859828_1.pdf