Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Highest Cartel Fines Ever Imposed by the European Commission

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

According to a press release from the EU:

The European Commission has imposed fines, totalling €1 383 896 000 on Asahi, Pilkington, Saint-Gobain and Soliver for illegal market sharing, and exchange of commercially sensitive information regarding deliveries of car glass in the EEA, in violation of the EC Treaty’s and the EEA Agreement’s ban on cartels and restrictive business practices (Article 81 of the EC Treaty and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement). Asahi, Pilkington and Saint-Gobain are the three major players in Europe. Between early 1998 and early 2003 these companies discussed target prices, market sharing and customer allocation in a series of meetings and other illicit contacts. The Belgian company Soliver also took part in some of these discussions. These four companies controlled about 90% of the glass used in the EEA in new cars and for original branded replacement glass for cars at that time, a market worth about €2 billion in the last full year of the infringement. The Commission started the cartel investigation on its own initiative following a tip-off from an anonymous source. The Commission increased the fines on St Gobain by 60% because it was a repeat offender. Asahi provided additional information to help expose the infringement and its fine was reduced by 50% under the Leniency Notice. These are the highest cartel fines Commission has ever imposed, both for an individual company (€896 000 000 on Saint Gobain) and for a cartel as a whole.

HT to Conor Maguire at Brussels Matters

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