Producers in the dark over p-wax cartel fines

01 October 2008 16:15  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Paraffin wax producers on Wednesday said they were in the dark on the exact reasons they have been fined by the European Commission for price-fixing, with some considering court appeals.


Nine producers have been fined a total of €676m ($952m) for operating a pricing cartel between 1992 and 2005, holding regular meetings to discuss prices and allocate markets and customers.


H&R Wasag, which was fined a total of €36m for the involvement of two subsidiaries, said it would look to appeal once written substantiation for the fines had been received, and that it “continues to rule the fine as unjustified.”


Sasol, which received the largest fine of €318m, said in a statement it was surprised by, and “does not understand the reasons for the magnitude of this fine and will be studying the reasons for the finding with a view to lodge an appeal against it”.


The South Africa-based company said it was completely unaware of the infringements before the EC commenced its investigations in April 2005.


Total, slapped with a €128m fine, said it hadn’t received any motivation for the decision, just the amount of the charge.


Hungary’s MOL said it had yet to study the final decision and had a period of two months in which to determine whether to lodge an appeal with the Court of First Instance in Luxembourg.


ExxonMobil, which was charged €84m, said it deeply regretted involvement and wouldn’t take any further action until it received the full decision from the EC.


Meanwhile, a paraffin wax buyer in the candle industry said it would definitely look for compensation from the suppliers in question, but it was too early to take specific actions.


($1 = €0.71)


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By: Mark Watts
+44 20 8652 3214

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