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Competition Agency to Conduct Autogas Market Inquiry

The Competition Agency is studying  the current situation in the  autogas market.  The market survey has launched  by order of the Agency’s Chairman dated  February 6, 2015 on the basis of the fact of the alleged violation on the auto gas market.

The Agency is required to study whether cartel deals  among the operators  has occurred  in the market . The Consumer Rights Protection Society applied to the Agency after in August 2014the product price hiked by GEL 0.05.

What is the position of the autogas companies on  the issue, will they cooperate with the Agency, whether cartel deals is reality on the  Georgian market?

Vakhtang Chakhnashvili,  a representative  of  TRADE STONE IBERIA company which owns 50 percent of shares in the gas station “GasWill” says it would be good, if the Competition Agency was interested  in the issue of unhealthy competition in the field. According to him, the country’s gas stations are not controlled. State doesn’t carry out any supervision, equipment installed in the stations is not checked whether it complied with the standards.

In Chakhnashvili’s opinion, the quality of the gas container installed in the car should  be checked whether safety standards are observed. Today the vehicles are charged under high pressure that can cause an accident.

As Chakhnashvili notes, what cartel deals we are we talking about, when prices in the sector are not regulated and there is a total freedom. “Today 15 different prices are set at the gas stations. For example, our company owns 4 gas stations wheredifferent prices are set. What deals can we talk about ? We regulate the price depending on the  location, “- Chakhnashvili adds.

In Chakhnashvili’s words, everybody knows that due to the lari’s  depreciation,  the auto gas companies’ profit margin decreased by GEL 0.20, while the price rose only by GEL 0.05-0.07.