Lithuanian Rail Company Faces EU Probe Over Track Removal

Lithuania’s state-owned railway company Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai faces a European Union antitrust probe for removing a rail link that may have blocked rival services.

The European Commission said it would investigate whether the 2008 dismantling of a railway track between Lithuania and Latvia limited competition for railway freight. Regulators raided the company in 2011 after oil refinery Orlen Lietuva AB complained that the track’s removal increased its transport fees. The refinery, controlled by Poland’s PKN Orlen SA (PKN), transports about 90 percent of its production by rail.

The track was removed because Lithuanian railroad inspectors said its poor condition could cause an accident, Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius told reporters today in Vilnius, according to a report by Baltic News Service. Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai’s lawyers are preparing a statement on the probe, which will be published tomorrow, the newswire said, citing a company spokesman.

Vidmantas Gudas, a spokesman for Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai, and the company’s switchboard didn’t pick up calls from Bloomberg News seeking comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at awhite62@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

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