Swatch confirms competition probe

The world's biggest watchmaker Swatch confirmed Monday it was being probed by European anti-trust authorities over claims that several luxury watch producers colluded to stop supplying spare parts to independent repairers.

Swatch confirms competition probe
Gerard M

“It concerns almost the entire watch industry, including the Swatch group,” the watchmaker said in a statement.

The European Commission had thrown out the complaint filed by the European Confederation of Watch & Clock Repairers’ Associations in 2004, but was ordered to reverse that decision by the European Court of Justice last year.

The confederation alleged that watch manufacturers refused to supply spare parts to repairers that did not belong to manufacturer maintenance networks.

“We are confident regarding the outcome of this investigation,” Swatch group said.

Stocks in the watchmaker fell 7.39 percent in late afternoon trade to 335.70 francs per share, leading the Swiss Market Index’s 2.98 percent fall, as investors continued to fret over the credit worthiness of the United States and other advanced economies.


Amazon under investigation by Italy’s competition watchdog

Italy's competition authority said on Tuesday it had opened an investigation into Amazon for possible abuse of its dominant position in online commerce and logistics.

Amazon under investigation by Italy's competition watchdog
Did Amazon unfairly profit from its market dominance in Italy? Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

The authority said it suspected that the retail giant had been giving preferential exposure to third-party vendors on its platform only if they subscribed to Amazon's logistics service.

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“These practices would have allowed Amazon to profit unfairly from its dominant position” in online commerce platforms “in order to significantly curtail competition” on storage and dispatch markets, said the Italian competition authority, Antitrust. These practices would have in the end harmed consumers, it added.

The investigation is likely to last a year, said Antitrust. The authority's agents inspected various Amazon sites on Tuesday, accompanied by members of the financial crime unit.

The Italian case follows probes by authorities in Japan, France, Austria and the EU Commission into practices by Amazon and other tech giants like Google, Apple and Facebook.

In June 2017, the EU Commission hit Google with a fine of €2.42 billion for abuse of its dominant market position, the first such sanction for the company in Europe.