Financial Penalty Framework
CCCS has the discretion to impose a financial penalty on any undertaking that was a party to an infringement. The policy objectives of imposing a financial penalty are to reflect the seriousness of the infringement and to deter both the infringing undertaking and other undertakings from engaging in anti-competitive practices.
Before CCCS can exercise its powers to impose financial penalties, CCCS must be satisfied that the infringement has been committed intentionally or negligently.
How the Financial Penalties are Calculated
The amount of financial penalty which may be imposed is at CCCS’s discretion. However, section 69(4) of the Act sets out a statutory maximum amount of penalty that may be imposed and this is 10 percent of the turnover of the business of the undertaking in Singapore for each year of infringement, up to a maximum of 3 years.
CCCS may take into consideration the following, amongst other things, when imposing a financial penalty:
- the seriousness of the infringement;
- the turnover of the business of the undertaking in Singapore for the relevant product and relevant geographic markets affected by the infringement;
- the duration of the infringement;
- any further aggravating or mitigating factors; and
- other relevant factors, e.g. deterrent value.
Notifications for Guidance or Decision
Undertakings who seek guidance or a decision from CCCS on anti-competitive agreements, decisions or practices (Section 34) will be granted provisional financial immunity from the time of notification to a date specified by CCCS. There is no immunity for notifications with regard to abuse of dominance (Section 47). Refer to seeking guidance and decision for more information.
A cartel member who is the first to come forward to provide information on the cartel may be granted total immunity from financial penalties subject to certain conditions being met. These conditions include providing CCCS with all information, documents and evidence it has relating to the cartel, maintains continuous and complete cooperation with CCCS and refrains from further participation in the cartel activity (unless it is directed to do otherwise by CCCS). Other cartel members who apply for leniency but are not the first to come forward may have the amount of financial penalty reduced by up to 50%. Refer to applying for leniency for more information.
CCCS can impose penalties for ongoing infringements as well as infringement that had already stopped at the time of CCCS’s investigation. Where the infringement involves a trade association, financial penalties may be imposed on the association itself, its members or both. In the case of a takeover, financial penalties may be imposed on the company that takes over the infringing party.
Refer to CCCS Guidelines on CCCS Guidelines on Enforcement of Competition Cases 2016, CCCS Guidelines on Lenient Treatment for Undertakings Coming Forward with Information in Cartel Activity Cases 2016 and CCCS Guidelines on the Appropriate Amount of Penalty in Competition Cases 2016