We represented Valio Oy, a major dairy company, in a follow-on competition damages case related to the Supreme Administrative Court’s decision on abuse of a dominant position.
In 2014, the Finnish Market Court fined Valio for predatory pricing in the Finnish fresh milk market. In 2016, the Finnish Supreme Administrative Court upheld the Finnish Market Court’s decision. Following the Market Court’s decision, Arla Ltd and five Finnish dairy companies claimed compensation from Valio for damage allegedly suffered due to the competition law infringement. The capital amount of damages claimed was, in aggregate, more than EUR 100 million. Four of the six claims, including Arla’s claim, were settled prior to the main hearing.
A seven-week main hearing of the remaining two damages claims, which amounted to EUR 30 million, was held in the Helsinki District Court in March 2019. The District Court gave its ruling on June 2019 and awarded the two remaining claimants a total of EUR 8 million in damages, which is less than one-third of the amount of the claims in question. The parties did not appeal the decision, which is now final. This matter is noteworthy, as it is the first significant follow-on damage case relating to abuse of dominance in Finland and one of only a few in all of Europe.
Valio Ltd is a brand leader and the biggest dairy business in Finland and a major player in the international dairy ingredients market. In 2018, Valio’s turnover stood at EUR 1.7 billion, and it had 4,200 employees globally.