November 14, 2018 / 9:03 AM / 7 months ago

Bulgaria regulator to check fuel retailers amid anger over price hikes

SOFIA, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Bulgaria’s anti-monopoly regulator, under pressure from public anger over rising fuel prices, said on Wednesday it would launch checks at the main fuel retailers to see if they have complied with measures imposed last year to improve competition.

Hundreds of Bulgarians protested on Sunday against higher petrol and diesel prices which officials say are mainly due to rising global oil prices.

The Commission for Protection of Competition failed to prove price fixing among six fuel retailers in March 2017 but ruled they should stop any exchange of information on their price policies and adopt internal procedures to guarantee efficient market competition.

It will now check whether the Bulgarian units of LUKOIL , Royal Dutch Shell, OMV, Hellenic Petroleum, Gazprom Neft and Bulgarian fuel retailer Petrol have adopted the measures.

“Following the increase of fuel prices for consumers... the Commission considers it necessary to check the implementation of the approved set of measures,” the regulator said in a statement.

In a bid to quell public discontent, the regulator has also started a new analysis of the fuel sector to see if there are any breaches of competition rules. (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova Editing by Peter Graff)

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