10 July 2009 20:18 [Source: ICIS news]
TORONTO (ICIS news)--The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has reduced a fine for Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) by €10m ($14m), ruling the US agricultural products major should not have been classified a “leader” in a citric acid cartel, the court said on Friday.
The court cut the fine to €29.4m, from €39.69m, siding with ADM after it had appealed an adverse ruling in 2006 by the European Court of First Instance, it said in a statement.
The case dates back to a 2001 European Commission ruling to fine five firms, including ADM, over €135m for participating in a 1990s cartel to allocate sales quotas and fix prices in the citric acid market.
The commission, in calculating the fine for ADM, had classified the US-based producer as a leader in the cartel.
Leadership constitutes an aggravating circumstance, which results in a significant increase in the basic amount of cartel fines, the court said.
However, the ECJ found that ADM, on the evidence of the case, should not have lawfully been classified as a cartel leader.
Citric acid is an acidulant and preservative used in food and beverages, household detergents and cleaners, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, and in various industrial processes.
Details about the ruling are available on the ECJ’s website under case number C-511/06 P.
($1 = €0.71)
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