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EUROPEAN COMMISSION DG Competition - page 59 / 113

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135. Single branding obligations are obligations which require the buyer on a particular market to concentrate its purchases to a large extent with one supplier. A so-called ‘English clause’, requiring the buyer to report any better offer and allowing it only to accept such an offer when the supplier does not match it, can be expected to have the same effect as a single branding obligation of concentrating the purchases with one supplier, especially when the buyer has to reveal who makes the better offer.

Many kinds of rebate systems 136. Rebate systems can be formulated and modulated in many ways and it is therefore not possible to provide an exhaustive list. The supplier may simply offer a rebate, in general from a list price, on an individual order of the buyer. Rebate systems can also be more complex where the supplier for instance offers a rebate on an aggregated number of orders of the buyer.

Conditional and unconditional rebates 137. A basic distinction for rebates is between unconditional rebates and conditional rebates. Unconditional rebates, while granted to certain customers and not to others, are granted for every purchase of these particular customers, independently of their purchasing behaviour.85

For instance, a rebate that is offered only to customers that might more easily switch to foreign suppliers because they are located in the border region. Unconditional rebates differentiate the purchase price between customer groups. Conditional rebates are granted to customers to reward a certain (purchasing) behaviour of these customers. The latter type of rebates may depend on a number of aspects of the customer’s behaviour, such as the amount purchased in a preceding period from the same supplier or the percentage of total requirements purchased in a preceding period from the same supplier or the supply of a certain service by the customer. These conditional rebates differentiate the purchase price for each customer depending on its behaviour. Although not necessarily so, this may also lead to a differentiation in purchase price between buyers.

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Such rebates are termed unconditional because they are granted independently of the purchasing behaviour of the customer in question. However, an unconditional rebate is not available to all customers as it would otherwise be a general price decrease, but is only made available to certain customers depending on characteristics other than their purchasing behaviour.

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