Volume 43, Issue 1 - January 2008
Fines for Price-Fixing to Remain
On November 28 the European Commission (EC) fined four glass manufacturing companies—Asahi Glass Co., Guardian Industries, Pilkington (part of the NSG Group) and Saint-Gobain—a total of EUR 486.9 million (approximately USD $719.2 million) for price-fixing (see December 2007 USGlass, page 36).
According to the EC’s statement the fines were imposed because the companies “coordinated price increases and other commercial conditions for deliveries of flat glass used for windows, glass doors and mirrors within the European Economic Area.”
Since the announcement, questions have surfaced as to where the money, once collected from the manufacturers, will go. Will it be distributed back to customers?
According to Mattias Sundholm, acting spokesperson/acting head, press and public diplomacy for the Delegation of the European Commission to the United States, the money stays within the EC.
“All fines levied on cartel cases go into the EU budget,” says Sundholm, “thereby reducing member state contributions and ultimately benefitting taxpayers.”
In addition, information on the EC’s website states: “Any person or firm affected by anti-competitive behavior as described in this case may bring the matter before the courts of the member states and seek damages, submitting elements of the published decision as evidence that the behavior took place and was illegal. Even though the Commission has fined the companies concerned, damages may be awarded without these being reduced on account of the commission fine.”