IP/07/1781 Brussels, 28 November 2007 欧州委員会板ガラスカルテルを調査
Antitrust: Commission fines flat glass producers Euro 486.9 million for price fixing cartel
The European Commission has imposed fines, totalling Euro 486 900 000 on Asahi, Guardian, Pilkington and Saint-Gobain for coordinating price increases and other commercial conditions for deliveries of flat 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). Flat glass is used for windows, glass doors and mirrors. Between early 2004 and early 2005, Asahi, Guardian, Pilkington and Saint-Gobain managed to raise or otherwise stabilise prices through a series of meetings and other illicit contacts. The case began on the Commission's own initiative. This is the second case in which the Commission has applied its new 2006 Guidelines (see IP/06/857 and MEMO/06/256) for the calculation of the fine (for the first case, see IP/07/1725).
Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "The Commission will not tolerate companies cheating consumers and business customers by fixing prices and depriving them of the benefits of the Single Market. Fortunately this cartel was discovered by the Commission with the help of the Member States' National Competition Authorities, in the context of the European Competition Network. This case demonstrates clearly the benefits of enhanced co-operation between the Commission and the National Competition Authorities ".
The Commission started this investigation on its own initiative on the basis of market information provided by several Member States' National Competition Authorities, showing excellent cooperation within the European Competition Network. Surprise inspections were carried out in February and March 2005 at the premises of Asahi's and Guardian's European subsidiaries, as well as at the premises of Pilkington, Saint-Gobain and the European Association of Flat Glass Producers. In between the two rounds of inspections, Asahi and its European subsidiary Glaverbel (recently renamed "AGC Flat Glass Europe") made an application under the 2002 Leniency Notice. They co-operated with the Commission and provided additional evidence.
The cartel concerned flat glass for use in the construction sector, which includes basic float glass, low emissivity glass (i.e. glass coated with microscopically thin metal or metallic oxide layers to improve its insulating qualities), laminated glass and unprocessed mirror glass. In 2004 these undertakings' sales to independent customers in the EEA totalled Euro1 700 million. The main customers of flat glass for use in the construction sector are processors, which transform this glass into finished products, such as double-glazing windows, fire-resistant glass and mirrors, all of which are commonly used in large buildings but also in private houses and apartments.
Asahi, Guardian, Pilkington and Saint-Gobain, with a combined share of at least 80% of the flat glass market in the EEA, organised several rounds of price increases, fixed minimum prices and other commercial conditions in an endeavour to raise or otherwise stabilise prices. They also monitored the implementation of the price increase agreements.
The evidence uncovered describes in detail several meetings in restaurants and hotels in different European countries during which Asahi, Guardian, Pilkington and Saint-Gobain discussed and agreed the level and timing of price increases (including which undertaking was to lead the price increase), target prices, minimum prices and/or exchanged sensitive commercial information.
This is the second Commission antitrust decision applying the 2006 Guidelines on Fines (see IP/06/857 and MEMO/06/256). Under the new method, fines better reflect the overall economic significance of the infringement as well as the share of each company involved.
|Name and location of undertaking||Fine* (Euro)|
|Asahi (Japan)||65 000 000|
|Guardian (USA)||148 000 000|
|Pilkington (UK)||140 000 000|
|Saint-Gobain (France)||133 900 000|
|TOTAL||486 900 000|
(*) Legal entities within the undertaking may be held jointly and severally liable for the whole or part of the fine imposed.
Action for damages
Any person or firm
affected by anti-competitive behaviour as described in this case
may bring the matter before the courts of the Member States and
seek damages, submitting elements of the published decision as
evidence that the behaviour took place and was illegal. Even
though the Commission has fined the companies concerned, damages
may be awarded without these being reduced on account of the
Commission fine. A Green Paper on private enforcement has been
published (see IP/05/1634 and MEMO/05/489).
fines producers of chloroprene rubber Euro 243.2 million for
market sharing and price fixing in the EEA
The European Commission has imposed a total of ? 243 210 000 fines on the Bayer, Denka, DuPont, Dow, ENI and Tosoh groups for participating in a cartel for chloroprene rubber in the European Economic Area (EEA) in violation of the EC Treaty’s ban on cartels and restrictive business practices (Article 81). Between 1993 and 2002, these companies shared the market and fixed prices for chloroprene rubber, which is used for rubber components in a range of industrial products, as latex for the production of diving equipment, condoms and the inner soles of shoes and as adhesive.
The fine of ENI was increased by 60% as it had been fined previously for similar behaviour. The fine of Bayer would also have been increased for the same reason, but Bayer was the first company to come forward with information about the cartel under the Commission's 2002 Leniency Notice and received full immunity from fines.
Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: “It is particularly disappointing that the rubber industry has still not learned its lessons about avoiding cartels. I find it very difficult to understand how shareholders and board members can tolerate such illegal behaviour"
Chloroprene rubber is a synthetic rubber capable of elastic deformation under stress and returning to its previous size without permanent deformation. It is mainly used in the rubber industry for the production of hoses, v-belts and power transmission belts, as adhesive in the shoe and furniture industry as well as latex for the production of diving equipment, condoms and the inner soles of shoes.
The Commission investigation started with surprise inspections in March and July 2003, prompted by an application for immunity lodged by Bayer under the 2002 Leniency Notice (see IP/02/247 and MEMO/02/23).
From at least 1993 to 2002, the producers of chloroprene rubber operated a cartel in which they agreed each other's market shares and set prices. The companies held regular meetings to discuss prices, exchange sensitive commercial information, discuss specific clients and to follow-up the implementation of their illegal agreements.
These practices constitute very serious infringements of EC Treaty antitrust rules. In setting the fines, the Commission took into account the respective affected sales of the companies involved as well as the combined market share, the geographical scope and the actual implementation of the cartel agreements. The Commission increased the fines for ENI and Bayer by 60% and 50% respectively because they had already been fined several times for cartel activities in previous Commission decisions.
The cooperation of three groups under the Commission's leniency programme was rewarded. Bayer (although a repeat offender) was granted full immunity and Tosoh and DuPont/Dow were granted a reduction of their fines of 50% and 25% respectively.
The fines in this case are based on the 2006 Guidelines on Fines (see IP/06/857 and MEMO/06/256), in force at the time the Statement of Objections was notified.
The fines imposed and the leniency reductions granted by the Commission in this case are as follows:（単位：千ユーロ）
(*) Legal entities within
the undertaking may be held jointly and severally liable for the
whole or part of the fine imposed.
Action for damages
Any person or firm affected by anti-competitive behaviour as described in this case may bring the matter before the courts of the Member States and seek damages, submitting elements of the published decision as evidence that the behaviour took place and was illegal. Even though the Commission has fined the companies concerned, damages may be awarded without these being reduced on account of the Commission fine. A Green Paper on private enforcement has been published (see IP/05/1634 and MEMO/05/489).
東ソー 「本件に関しての今後の対応につきましては、 本決定通知の内容を精査し、弁護士とも協議の上、適切な対応 をとる所存です。」
電気化学 「今後その内容を精査した上で公正かつ適切に対 処してまいりますが、欧州第一審裁判所へ提訴することも含め 、慎重に対応する所存です。」
2008/6/30 EU IP/08/1056
Antitrust: Commission introduces settlement procedure for cartels
The European Commission has introduced a settlement procedure for cartels which will allow the Commission to settle cartel cases through a simplified procedure. Under this procedure, parties, having seen the evidence in the Commission file, choose to acknowledge their involvement in the cartel and their liability for it. In return for this acknowledgement, the Commission can reduce the fine imposed on the parties by 10%. Settlements aim to simplify the administrative proceedings and could reduce litigation before the European Courts in cartel cases. This will in turn free Commission resources to pursue other cases. The Commission has analysed the 51 contributions received during the public consultation launched on 26th October 2007 and has revised the package in consultation with the Member States' competition authorities. The legislative package consists of a Commission Regulation together with a Commission Notice (the "settlement notice") explaining the new system in detail. The settlements package will enter into force on the day of its publication in the EU Official Journal.
Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes commented: "This new settlements procedure will reinforce deterrence by helping the Commission deal more quickly with cartel cases, freeing up resources to open new investigations. Companies which are convinced that the Commission can prove their involvement in a cartel, will also benefit from quicker decisions and a fine reduction.”
The Commission's ability to fight cartels hinges on the evidence gathered during its investigations. Parties found guilty of a cartel often do not go to court to contest the existence of a cartel or their involvement in it, but rather to reduce or avoid fines. This is particularly so in cases driven by leniency applications.
Under the new settlement procedure, the Commission neither negotiates nor bargains the use of evidence or the appropriate sanction, but can reward the parties’ cooperation to attain procedural economies. Such cooperation is different from the voluntary production of evidence to trigger or advance the Commission's investigation, which is already covered by the Leniency Notice. Where both the settlement reduction and the leniency reduction are applicable, they are applied cumulatively. A decision finding an infringement of the antitrust rules and imposing fines pursuant to Regulation (EC) Nº 1/2003 is adopted, irrespective of whether the standard or the settlement procedure applies.
Parties have neither the right nor the duty to settle, but in cases where companies are convinced that the Commission could prove their involvement in a cartel, a settlement can be reached with the Commission on the scope and duration of the cartel, and the individual liability of the companies involved. To this end, parties will be informed about the envisaged objections and the evidence supporting them, and will be given the occasion to state their views, before formal objections are sent. If the parties chose to introduce a settlement submission, acknowledging the objections, the Commission's statement of objections (SO) would endorse the contents of the parties' submission and so could be much shorter than an SO issued without prior cooperation. Since parties will have been heard in anticipation of the "settlement" SO, other procedural steps can be simplified so that, following confirmation by the parties, the Commission can proceed swiftly to adopt a final decision after consulting Member States in the framework of the Advisory Committee, comprised of representatives of all Member States' competition authorities.
The Commission retains the possibility, until the final decision, to revert to the standard procedure. In addition, if no settlement was explored or reached, the standard procedure would apply by default.
The amendments to Commission Regulation (EC) nº 773/2004 on procedures for applying Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty accommodate the settlement option within the existing framework. Changes include:
The Settlements Notice sets out the specifics of the new procedure and provides guidance for the legal and business community. Companies will be able to:
Fourth largest fine ever
imposed on a cartel in the EU - acrylic glass producers
The EU Commission has fined four firms a total of Euro 344,562,500 for operating a price cartel in the acrylic glass market, contrary to Article 81 of the EC Treaty.
Acrylic glass, - or Polymethyl-methacrylate (PMMA) - is widely used for a range of purposes such as the production of headlamps, tail lights and dashboard glass in the car industry, in household appliances, electronics, and in bath and shower trays. These products are commonly also called acrylic glass and are best known under the trade names Plexiglas, Perspex, Acrylite, Acrylplast and Lucite.
During its investigation, the Commission uncovered evidence, notably in the form of handwritten notes which, that cartel participants had agreed on European price levels for acrylic glass as of January 2000. Also, at a meeting held in August 2000, the companies agreed to raise by Euro 0.10 the price per kilogram sheet of acrylic glass and discussed the price of extra services such as cutting and dying of sheets.
In view of the very serious nature of the infringement, the size of the EEA market in acrylic glass, the duration of the cartel (which the Commission considered to have operated between 1997 and 2002) and the size of the undertakings involved the Commission imposed the following fines:
|Arkema (formerly Atofina of France)||40%||219,131,250|
|Barlo (now Quinn Barlo, Ireland, Belgium and Germany)||9,000,000|
German company Degussa
was granted total immunity under the 2002 Leniency Notice. It
could have faced a fine of Euro264,468,750, by far the largest in
Arkema and Lucite were granted 40% and 30% reductions in their respective fines for providing information important to the Commission in establishing the infringement. The Commission, however, increased the fines imposed on ICI and Lucite by 50% since those companies were repeat cartel offenders.
This the fourth largest fine ever imposed by the Commission in respect of a cartel in the EU (Euro 344,562,500) behind the Vitamins (2001), the Plasterboards (2002) and the Hydrogen Peroxide (2006) decisions.
Antitrust: Commission fines producers of CRT glass € 128 million in fourth cartel settlement
The European Commission has settled a cartel investigation with four producers of cathode ray tubes (CRT) glass used in televisions and computer screens. Japanese firms Asahi Glass (AGC) and Nippon Electric Glass (NEG) and Germany's Schott AG were fined a total of € 128 736 000 for operating a cartel that ultimately affected consumers in Europe. In doing so they breached Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU and Article 53 of the EEA agreement. The fine on all three companies includes a reduction of 10% for acknowledging their participation in the cartel, thereby helping the Commission to conclude the case more rapidly. Samsung Corning Precision Materials (SCP) of Korea was granted full immunity for being the first to give information about the cartel.
Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia said: “I commend the companies' readiness to settle which enabled the Commission to conclude the case more rapidly and won them a reduction of the fine. But firms should be under no illusion about the Commission's resolve to fight cartels and impose fines that should deter them from breaching competition rules in the EU."
Overall, the cartel lasted from 23 February 1999 until 27 December 2004 and coordinated the prices for CRT glass in the European Economic Area (EEA)1. The product concerned, also known as bulb glass, was bought by producers of cathode ray tubes to use in traditional TVs and computer screens. The investigation started end 2008.
The cartel was operated on the basis of bilateral or trilateral meetings, organised at the request of the members. The cartel members supplemented their price coordination activities with the exchange, on an ad hoc basis, of confidential and sensitive market information.
For the infringement, Asahi Glass was fined € 45 135 000, Nippon Electric € 43 200 000 and Schott AG € 40 401 000. The fines take into account the CRT glass sales of the firms in the EEA, the very serious nature of the infringement and its geographic scope.
The decision also established the participation of SCP in the cartel. However, the firm received full immunity under the Commission's 2006 Leniency Notice (see IP/06/1705 and MEMO/06/469). The fine on NEG includes a 50% reduction, also for cooperation under the Leniency Notice. Schott was granted a reduction of 18% for its cooperation outside the Leniency Notice. The fines on AGC and Schott also recognise that they were not involved in all aspects of the cartel.
fourth settlement decision in a cartel investigation. The other three
were: DRAMS (see
IP/10/568), Animal feed (hybrid settlement
IP/10/985) and Household laundry powder detergents (see
The investigation was triggered by initial information pointing to a possible cartel in the CRT glass market. Shortly thereafter the Commission received SCP’s request for immunity which was followed by inspections.
Individual fines, including reductions:
Reduction under the Leniency Notice
Reduction under the Settlement Notice
Samsung Corning Precision Materials Co., Ltd.
Nippon Electric Co., Ltd.
43 200 000
40 401 000
Asahi Glass Co., Ltd.
45 135 000
The settlement procedure
The settlement procedure is based on Antitrust Regulation 1/2003 (see IP/08/1056 and MEMO/08/458). It allows the Commission to apply a simplified procedure to suitable cases where parties, having seen the evidence in the Commission file choose to acknowledge their involvement in the cartel ant their liability for it, and thereby reduce the length of the investigation. This is good for consumers and for taxpayers as it reduces costs; good for antitrust enforcement as it frees up resources to tackle other suspected cases; and good for the companies themselves that benefit from quicker decisions and a 10% reduction in fines.
Action for damages
Any person or firm affected by anti-competitive behaviour as described in this case may bring the matter before the courts of the Member States and seek damages. The case law of the Court and Council Regulation 1/2003 both confirm that in cases before national courts, a Commission decision is binding proof that the behaviour took place and was illegal. Even though the Commission has fined the companies concerned, damages may be awarded without these being reduced on account of the Commission fine.
韓国Samsung Corning Precision
Glassが、2010年に社名を「Samsung Corning Precision Materials」に変更した。