Upholding a ruling from the EFTA Surveillance authority, the court of the European Free Trade Association said Norway Post had pursued an exclusivity strategy designed to keep competitors out of the lucrative market for business-to-consumer parcel services.
Noting that over-the-counter in-store services had become the predominant method for package delivery in Norway, the court said in a statement that "Norway Post’s share in the market remained close to or above 98 percent for the entirety of the relevant period."
The court said the anti-trust practices originated in framework agreements drawn up in 2001 with NorgesGruppen, Shell, Coop and Ica aimed at the establishment of a Post-in-Shop network.
Norway Post's deals with NorgesGruppen and Shell "specifically excluded competitors" from access to any outlets in those chains, the court said.
In the cases of Coop and Ica, Posten was guaranteed exclusivity "in the outlets which hosted a Post-in-Shop."
These deals effectively precluded Posten's competitors from offering similar services in "approximately 50 percent of all outlets belonging to grocery store, kiosk and petrol station chains in Norway."
The court added that Norway Post is also facing an action for damages brought by its competitor DB Schenker/Privpak. That case is pending at the Oslo District Court.