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Sofia court cancels 7.6 mln euro fine on Metro Cash&Carry Bulgaria

Sofia court cancels 7.6 mln euro fine on Metro Cash&Carry Bulgaria Metro Cash & Carry Author (Wikicommons) Licence: All rights reserved.

SOFIA (Bulgaria), May 17 (SeeNews) - A Sofia court said it has canceled a 14.9 million levs ($8.57 million/7.6 million euro) fine imposed by the country's anti-trust body on retailer Metro Cash&Carry Bulgaria for illegal comparative advertising.

Metro Cash&Carry's advertising campaign cannot be defined as comparative advertising, it does not discredit and tarnish the reputation of local competitor Lidl Bulgaria, nor does it benefit from Lidl's popularity and practice to hold "theme weeks", the Sofia administrative court stated in its ruling earlier this week.

The ruling can be appealed before the Supreme Administrative Court within two weeks.

The fine imposed by the Commission for Protection of Competition was equal to 2% of Metro Cash&Carry Bulgaria's annual turnover in 2017. It followed a probe into a complaint submitted in February by Lidl Bulgaria.

Metro Cash&Carry Bulgaria is a wholly-owned unit of Dutch-registered Metro Cash&Carry International Holding, and is part of German retail group Metro Cash&Carry. It operates 11 stored across nine of the country's biggest cities.

Lidl, a global discount supermarket chain which is part of Germany's Schwarz-Gruppe,  entered the Bulgarian market in 2010 and currently operates stores in 46 cities.

(1 euro = 1.95583 levs)