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On 19th March 2014, the European Commission announced it had fined a number of companies engaged in a cartel on the EU automotive bearings market €953 million for their conduct. The companies involved were two European companies (Sweden’s SKF and Germany’s Schaeffler) and four Japanese companies (JTEKT, NSK, NFC and NTN with its French subsidiary NTN-SNR). The Commission’s Decision brings to an end an investigation which started with unannounced inspections in November 2011. The Decision was taken under the EU Commission’s –Read More–

UK criminal cartel prosecutions could soon increase in the UK as the competition regulator focuses upon securing prosecutions following a change in the law. On 1st April 2014, the UK’s new competition law regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”), takes over the Office of Fair Trading’s competition watchdog role. In preparation for this, the CMA on 12 March 2014 published prosecutorial guidance (“the Guidance”) in respect of the controversial new amended cartel offence. The cartel offence is contained in –Read More–

On 5 March 2014, the European Commission announced that it has fined EPEX Spot and Nord Pool Spot, both European spot power exchanges, a total of €5,979,000 for breach of Article 101(1) of the Treaty for the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). So what are power exchanges and why are they so important? Power exchanges are organised markets for trading electricity and they bring together power generators and traders. Spot trading refers to short-term trading on an exchange either –Read More–

On 18 February 2014, the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) imposed fines totaling around €280m on the three major German sugar manufacturers Pfeifer & Langen GmbH & Co. KG, Südzucker AG and Nordzucker AG for fixing prices, setting quotas and sharing markets. The infringements involved the sale of industrial and consumer sugar and took place over several years dating back to the mid ‘90s until the Bundeskartellamt started investigations in 2009. The sugar producers had formed a “territorial cartel” and –Read More–

Applying finite resources to almost infinite market problems is a common concern for any regulator. The new UK super competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority, comes into force on the 1st April 2014 and has indicated that it will be more active than its predecessor, the Office of Fair Trading, in hunting down cartel activity. Both the OFT and the EU Commission (who regulates competition across the EU) have leniency or whistleblower programmes in place. Companies can approach the –Read More–

On 29 January 2014, the EU Commission published a decision leveling a fine against the members of a foam cartel. The cartel was between four producers of polyurethane foam, a type of foam used in mattresses, car seats and sofas. The four companies involved were Eurofoam, Carpenter, Recticel and Vita who were alleged to have conspired between 2005 and 2010 in several EU Member States to fix prices and pass on costs to consumers in order to avoid price competition –Read More–

On 4 December 2013 the EU Commission fined eight international banks for participation in cartels in Euro interest rate derivatives and Yen interest rate derivatives. This is another chapter in the LIBOR fixing scandal that has rocked the financial world and led to the worldwide exposure of wrongdoing by bank executives. Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Societe Generale, RBS, Credit Agricole, JP Morgan and HSBC were fined for exchanging information in their submissions in the EURIBOR between September 2005 and May 2008 –Read More–