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      Proskauer on International Litigation and Arbitration:
       Managing, Resolving, and Avoiding Cross-Border Business or Regulatory Disputes
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C. Trends in the EU

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  1. The European Commission (EC) and competition authorities of the Member States of the European Union have also continued to aggressively investigate and fine international cartels that have targeted European markets. 

  2. In 2008, the EC has imposed fines of over €2 billion for illegal cartel activity.  This includes fines of over €1.3 billion on various car glass producers for their role in a market sharing cartel and fines of over €646 million on various wax producers for their role in a price fixing and market sharing cartel. 

  3. The EC also introduced a new settlement procedure to simplify the procedure for companies to settle investigations.  The EC anticipates that this will permit it to deal more quickly with cartel cases.   

  4. There was also significant activity at the national level. 

(a) In France, the French competition authority imposed record fines of over €575 million on 11 steel trading companies for price fixing and market sharing.  This was also the first time that the French competition authority reduced a fine of a cartel member pursuant to its leniency program as a result of the company's cooperation in the investigation.

(b) In the United Kingdom, the Office of Fair Trading successfully reached a settlement with six companies for fixing the price of cigarettes whereby these companies agreed to pay £132 million.

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