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EU: Pilkington loses appeal over €357m cartel fine

 |  September 7, 2016

Pilkington Group, the Japanese-owned UK glass manufacturer, has lost an appeal against a €357m EU fine for its role in illegally fixing the price of glass used in the automotive industry.

The company was among four glassmakers that were handed down fines totalling €1.38bn by the European Commission in 2008 for what was dubbed the “car glass cartel”.

Pilkington, which was acquired by Nippon Sheet Glass of Japan a decade ago, was sanctioned along with Asahi, Saint-Gobain and Soliver for anti-competitive behaviour in the five years starting from 1998.

At the time, it was the largest ever cartel penalty imposed by the bloc’s regulators.

Pilkington lodged an appeal with the European Court of Justice after unsuccessfully challenging the decision at a lower court.

But the Luxembourg-based ECJ on Wednesday upheld the commission’s ruling, saying it had correctly calculated the financial penalty. It rejected Pilkington’s argument that its fine was proportionally higher than for the other parties because it was a less diversified company.

“The court of justice finds that it is not contrary to the principles of proportionality and equal treatment that an undertaking … may receive a fine which represents a proportion of its overall turnover that is greater than that imposed on the other undertakings,” read the judgment.

The British manufacturer, based in St Helens in north-west England, had also claimed that the competition watchdog should have used exchange rates on the day of the initial commission decision rather than from the preceding business year. This would have lowered the fine by €39.5m, but the argument was also rebuffed.

Full Content: Financial Times

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