FAKRO, Polish roof window competitor to VELUX, loses a complaint to the EU Commission, which since 2012 has been used as the basis for a smear campaign across most of Europe against The VELUX Group.
The European Commission rejected the complaint that Polish FAKRO made against VELUX in 2012. Commission spokesperson Ricardo Cardoso confirmed to Polish and international media that the Commission made comprehensive investigations into the accusations against The VELUX Group and found no breaches of competition rules by VELUX.
Group CEO David Briggs said,
“We hope that the EU Commission ruling puts a stop to this long list of complaints which FAKRO has propounded against VELUX in the media and at conferences. It is completely essential for us to be fair concerning competition and we have no reason to behave otherwise. We have a quality product and a high level of service so we do not need anything other than fair competition in the markets where we operate.”
FAKRO has described the case as an example of the difficult competitive conditions companies in Eastern Europe are faced with when trying to win market share in old EU countries. FAKRO used claims from the appeal towards the media and politicians.
David Briggs said,
“Because the Commission investigated the case, we have decided not to comment on it out of respect for the authorities’ work. But it has been unpleasant experiencing how far a competitor has been willing to criticise VELUX. Our customers have also asked us for our response to the accusations and many have been shocked to hear how far FAKRO has been willing to go.”
Briggs refers to probably Denmark’s largest ever case concerning industrial espionage, where a high-level VELUX employee contacted FAKRO via a middleman to sell access to thousands of confidential VELUX documents and secret recordings of internal meetings concerning customers, products, innovation and strategy. FAKRO has admitted to Polish media that FAKRO’s top management met several times with two middlemen regarding the potential purchase of this stolen material.
David Briggs said,
“This case clearly shows that VELUX and FAKRO have very different views on fair competition. I hope that FAKRO accepts the decision and going forward spends time on competing in the marketplace instead of presenting accusations and running a smear campaign.”
The Danish Police continue to investigate the industrial espionage case against VELUX.
FAKRO has previously lodged complaints against The VELUX Group to competition authorities and in 2008 there was a dawn raid at several VELUX Group subsidiaries. That investigation also revealed no signs of competition rule breaches by VELUX.