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Car Battery Makers to Challenge EU Cartel Charges in Brussels

 |  May 29, 2024

Next week, a consortium of car battery manufacturers will challenge European Union (EU) accusations of cartel activities at a closed hearing in Brussels, according to sources familiar with the matter. The companies involved include Banner, Clarios, Exide, FIAMM Energy Technology (FET) and its predecessor Elettra, and Rombat, as reported by Reuters.

Alongside these manufacturers, trade association Eurobat and its service provider Kellen are also facing charges from the European Commission. The companies are set to present their defense over the course of a week-long hearing, engaging with senior Commission officials and representatives from national competition agencies, as well as rivals and customers. These hearings typically allow the accused parties to plead their cases and may sometimes result in a narrowing of the charges, though such outcomes are uncommon.

Related: EU Accuses Car Battery Makers of Cartel Activities

The European Commission levied the charges last year, accusing the group of colluding to artificially raise the prices of automotive starter batteries sold to European car manufacturers. This alleged collusion reportedly occurred between 2004 and 2017. During this period, the seven entities allegedly developed and implemented the “Eurobat Premium” system, through which they created, published, and adhered to new pricing indexes during negotiations with carmakers.

The batteries in question are 12-volt lead-acid batteries, essential for starting most internal combustion engine vehicles. Should the companies be found guilty of violating EU antitrust regulations, they could face fines amounting to as much as 10% of their global turnover.

Source: Reuters