The Office for Competition accepts commitments from St Edward’s College and In Design (Malta) Limited on the supply of school uniforms.
The Office for Competition issued a decision which renders legally binding the commitments offered by St Edward’s College and In Design (Malta) Limited. The commitments address the preliminary competition concerns of the Office relating to an agreement on the supply of school uniforms which was entered into by St Edward’s College and In Design (Malta) Limited.
In its preliminary assessment, the Office expressed its preliminary views and concerns that the agreement concluded between In Design (Malta) Ltd and St Edward’s College may in fact raise concerns of market foreclosure which hinder and restrict competition because the exclusivity agreement was valid for five years, the duration of which was to be further prolonged through automatic renewal for further years.
St Edward’s College and In Design (Malta) Limited sought to adress the competition concerns of the Office by submitting formal commitments pursuant to the Competition Act.
More specifically, St Edward’s College and In Design (Malta) Limited offered the following commitments:
The parties agreed that the current agreement needs to be amended, completely removing the clause providing for automatic renewal.
Moreover, a notice identical to the one approved by the Office, which St Edward’s College sent to all parents, was inserted with the same text on the school website in the uniform section which indicates the following: “School uniforms as per St Edward's College's specifications are produced and sold by In Design (Malta) Limited. Kindly note that whilst insisting on the necessity of students attending school in full uniform, the College does not in any way prohibit parents from purchasing uniforms from other suppliers, as long as these are in line with specifications provided”.
St Edward’s College has also agreed and has committed itself to issue a new Request for Quotations at the end of the term of the agreement, such agreement not having a duration longer than four years.
The Competition Act allows the Office for Competition to conclude competition law proceedings by accepting commitments offered by undertakings. Such a decision does not reach a conclusion on whether competition law has been infringed, but legally binds the undertakings concerned to respect the commitments.