European General Court Reduces Saint-Gobain Fine for Antitrust Violations

The General Court of the European Union has reduced the fine imposed on Saint-Gobain for illegal market sharing and exchange of commercially sensitive information regarding deliveries of automotive glass in the European Economic Area (EEA) from $1.2 billion in U.S. dollars (€880 million Euros) to $984 million in U.S. dollars (€715 million Euros). The fine was imposed in 2008 and Saint-Gobain had asked the court for an annulment of the decision.

When issued, the European Commission increased the fine by 60 percent for Saint-Gobain because the company had already been fined for antitrust violations in previous Commission decisions in 1988 for Flat Glass Benelux and 1984 for Flat Glass Italy. The court decided the 1988 situation involved a difference company subsidiary and reduced the charge, according to a news report.

“The initial amount of the penalty, and the interest relating thereto, is fully provisioned in the group’s accounts,” Saint-Gobain officials wrote in a statement.

“Saint-Gobain will examine the terms of the General Court’s judgment to decide on the action it intends to take on this issue,” they added. “Saint-Gobain recalls that respect for the rules on antitrust law is an obligation that applies to all group employees. The principle of ‘zero tolerance’ is regularly reiterated by general management and remains an absolute requirement.”

In 2008, the European Commission had imposed fines, totaling $1.7 billion in U.S. dollars (€1.4 billion Euros), on Asahi, Pilkington, Saint-Gobain and Soliver for illegal market sharing and exchange of commercially sensitive information regarding deliveries of automotive glass in the EEA.

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