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Guidelines
EUROPROFILES
European Association of Bead and Lath Producers

GUIDELINES FOR COMPLIANCE WITH APPLICABLE COMPETITION LAW

March 2013

1) EUROPROFILES AND ITS MEMBERS HAVE TO COMPLY WITH APPLICABLE LAW AND ALWAYS OBSERVE THESE GUIDELINES
EUROPROFILES is a European trade association of bead and lath producers, which is publicly perceived in the building materials trade. The members of EUROPROFILES represent a large share of the manufacturers of plaster profiles and related products.
Therefore, EUROPROFILES feels obliged to comply with all applicable laws and regulations that apply to its own conduct as well as the conduct of its members. In particular, it has to strictly respect the entire competition law of the European Union (EU), as well as national laws and regulations. These guidelines aim to ensure that nothing done by Europrofiles and/or its members raises concerns with regard to competition law. These guidelines apply to any person who is involved in the activities of Europrofiles. All of these persons – all members of EUROPROFILES - and the entire staff of EUROPROFILES – are obliged to know and to always observe these guidelines.

2) EUROPROFILES' OBJECTIVES ARE LEGITIMATE
EUROPROFILES pursues legitimate objectives, including the representation of the common interests of its members before governments, administrative bodies and the public, conducting research as well as acting as an expert in its field. EUROPROFILES acts in the public interest, by allowing each member to give his view with one voice on technical, regulatory and environmental issues. It is recognised that the presentation of position papers and the representation of their members before governmental bodies, antitrust authorities and the public are fundamental tasks of trade associations and that these are consistent with applicable competition law.
These guidelines are to ensure that EUROPROFILES always acts law-abiding, i.e. that its activities are always legitimate.

3) EUROPROFILES DOES NOT ADOPT POSITIONS ON ISSUES THAT ARE SENSITIVE IN TERMS OF COMPETITION LAW – THE MEMBERS THEMSELVES DECIDE ON THOSE ISSUES
EUROPROFILES merely wants to inform its members and other persons about facts and statistics within the field of plaster profiles. It will never make decisions or give "recommendations" or innuendos on issues that are sensitive with regard to competition law, especially with regard to the future competitive conduct of members. The members should always reach their own informed decisions on the basis of the information provided by EUROPROFILES or on the basis of information from other sources.

4) AVOIDANCE OF MISUNDERSTANDINGS AND UNNECESSARY PROBLEMS
EUROPROFILES seeks and encourages their members to avoid any wording that could be misinterpreted. Cases from the past show that ill-advised statements or ambiguous comments or documents might be interpreted by competition authorities as reflecting collusions. Statements of that kind can expose trade associations to the risk of prosecution, no matter what the underlying reality. Despite its strong commitment to compliance with competition law, this could also be the case for EUROPROFILES. Any remark, comment, e-mail or other type of correspondence should be carefully reviewed in this respect, before they are given or sent by a member.

5) LEGITIMATE EXCHANGE OF STATISTICAL DATA
EUROPROFILES conducts market research. It collects, processes and publishes useful statistical data from its members and to its members. Certain types of information exchange could give rise to concerns with regard to competition law. When exchanging information on the intentions of companies or on their individual data concerning future prices or quantities, it has to be expected that this gives rise to concerns with regard to competition law. Therefore, discussions of that kind should never take place in a EUROPROFILES context.On the other side, competition law also acknowledges that the collection and distribution of statistical data by trade associations is legitimate, as long as strict safety measures are followed. The exchange of information between members must not relate to individual market data that are usually considered to be confidential (e.g. capacity utilisation, production and deliveries etc.), if the exchange refers to current data. Current data may only be disclosed in a summarised way, so the compiled figures always refer to at least three operators. It has to be assumed that the exchange of statistical data and forward-looking statements that adhere to these safety measures are most likely not harmful for competition. Other types of information exchange within EUROPROFILES are not allowed.

6) COMMITTEES HAVE TO BEHAVE LAW-ABIDING
The establishment of committees within EUROPROFILES is considered legitimate by competition law, as long as their activities do not go beyond the general information exchange and the discussion of market developments. All EUROPROFILES committees should avoid any behaviour that follows the purpose of or leads to a restriction of competition in the market. In particular, discussions within committees must not lead to an agreement with regard to the following issues: prices, price components or other factors relevant to prices; market shares; capacity utilization; joint utilization of geographic markets, customers or customer groups; investments or closures; or production programmes. Discussions on these issues are not allowed, regardless of their underlying reason.

7) COMPLIANCE WITH APPLICABLE LAW BY MEMBERS AND STAFF
EUROPROFILES is not liable for the infringement of competition law by its members. It will never endorse, assist or participate in conduct of that kind by its members. EUROPROFILES aims to ensure that meetings of members that are organised or supported by EUROPROFILES are never used by members to discuss or arrange future market behaviour that would lead to a restriction of competition. In general, the platform that EUROPROFILES offers to its members should not be misused for activities that are prohibited by applicable competition law. Therefore, the attendance of a EUROPROFILES representative at EUROPROFILES meetings is indispensable. Meetings of EUROPROFILES committees without the attendance of a EUROPROFILES representative are not allowed. A written invitation together with a detailed agenda has to be sent to each participant of a EUROPROFILES meeting. The discussions during the meetings should follow the agenda. There should be accurate and comprehensive minutes of the discussions that took place during each meeting. EUROPROFILES members, chairpersons and other participants at EUROPROFILES meetings are obliged to ensure strict compliance with the competition rules. At all meetings, the EUROPROFILES representative and the chairperson have to identify situations, in which problems with regard to competition law could arise. They have to react immediately to discussions that are contrary to regulations, by giving appropriate instructions (i.e. show that the respective discussion is contrary to regulations on EUROPROFILES meetings), and stop the potentially illegal behaviour immediately. If this is not possible, the EUROPROFILES representative should leave the meeting, and the chairperson must end the meeting. This has to be recorded in the minutes of the respective meeting.

8) SOCIAL EVENTS
It is important that EUROPROFILES members and EUROPROFILES staff comply with applicable competition law during social gatherings just as at formal meetings. These guidelines must be followed at all social events organized by EUROPROFILES. For social events not organised by EUROPROFILES, the responsibility to comply with competition law lies with the respective companies and persons.

9) STANDARD DECLARATION WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE AGENDA
At the meeting, the chairperson reminds all attendants of the regulations of the law, and the secretary minutes this as well as the acceptance of the attendants for complying with the regulations. The minutes written by the secretary list this agenda item together with the names of all attendants and are then signed by the chairperson.

 
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