BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Business  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
E-Commerce
Economy
Market Data
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Friday, 14 February, 2003, 14:22 GMT
Cartel busters raid PVC makers
EU Commissioner Monti
EU Commissioner Monti collected 923m euros in cartel fines last year
Anti-trust investigators have raided at least 14 companies in nine or more countries on Wednesday over suspected price fixing of PVC.

The visits were coordinated between competition bodies in the US, Europe, Japan and Canada to provide the maximum element of surprise.

Dutch chemicals giant Akzo Nobel and US chemicals producer Rohm and Haas admitted on Friday their offices had been subject to the raids.

Both companies said they were cooperating fully with officials.

PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is a widely used plastic with global sales worth billions of euros.

It is used in products ranging from children's toys to construction materials and auto parts.

Firms found guilty of price fixing in the EU can expect hefty fines, with maximum penalties running as high as 10% of a company's worldwide annual sales.

Price fixing

The European Commission said it had raided firms in France, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Italy and the UK.

"The purpose of these inspections is to ascertain whether there is evidence of a cartel agreement and related illegal practices concerning price fixing and market sharing for these products," the Commission said.

Brussels said the raids did not necessarily mean any of the firms were actually indulging in anti-competitive behaviour.

Officials were investigating claims that the companies were running two separate cartels in making plastic coverings.

European cartel busters have become increasingly active in recent years as the EU tries to protect its internal market from anti-competitive behaviour.

EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti has doubled his anti-cartel teams over the last three years and collected 923m euros (617m) in anti-cartel fines last year alone.

Evidence gathered by EU officials is allowed to be used in court cases in America, where litigants can win enormous civil damages from offenders.

See also:

27 Nov 02 | Business
30 Oct 02 | Entertainment
17 Jul 02 | Business
05 Dec 01 | Business
18 Jun 01 | Business
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes