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EU competition watchdog imposes big fines on cartels

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: ‘The three separate decisions taken today show that we will not tolerate anti-competitive behaviour affecting European consumers and industries.’

European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said the fines should be a warning to other companies (AP)
European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said the fines should be a warning to other companies (AP)

The European Union’s competition watchdog is sounding the warning to business cartels by announcing fines totalling more than half a billion euro (£440 million) in three cases.

The EU Commission said it fined groups of maritime car carriers 395 million euro (£348 million), spark plug suppliers 76 million euro (£67 million) and brake system suppliers 75 million euro (£66 million) for taking part in cartels.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: “The three separate decisions taken today show that we will not tolerate anti-competitive behaviour affecting European consumers and industries.”

In reference to its biggest fine, the Commission said Chilean maritime carrier CSAV, the Japanese carriers K Line, MOL and NYK, and Norwegian/Swedish carrier WWL-EUKOR formed a deep sea vehicle transport cartel for almost six years.

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The firms were fined around half a billion euro (£440 million) (AP)

MOL avoided a 203 million euro (£179 million) fine by blowing the whistle on the cartel.

Germany’s Bosch and Japan’s Denso and NGK were found to have run a cartel supplying spark plugs to European car-makers, while three companies — TRW, Bosch and Continental — ran two different cartels fixing brake system prices.

Denso and TRW received immunity for exposing the cartels.

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