EU court cuts AkzoNobel’s ICI unit anti-trust fine by 20%

25 June 2010 17:57  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--The EU General Court ruled on Friday that an EU anti-trust fine issued nearly a decade ago to Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), a unit of AkzoNobel, should be cut by 20% to €8m ($9.9m).

The court said the European Commission (EC) was “wrong to find that an aggravating circumstance existed in the applicant’s case” and therefore the fine should be reduced by 5% or €500,000.

The court further ruled the Commission did not know exactly when the companies started infringing anti-trust law and its decision was contradictory as regards to the date on which the infringement ended, referring to “about the end of 1990” in one provision while stating the end of 1989 in others.

Accordingly, the fine imposed on ICI should be reduced by a further 15% or €1.5m, and the total fine imposed on ICI set at €8m, the court said.

In late 2000, the EC fined ICI and Belgium's Solvay a total of €33m for market abuses committed in the soda ash sector in the 1980s.

The EC found that both companies had abused their dominant positions in the soda ash market by establishing a system of rebates designed to avoid any danger of real competition in their respective territories.

Consequently ICI was fined €10m, while Solvay had to pay €23m.

Dutch coatings company AkzoNobel acquired ICI in a £8bn deal that completed in January 2008. The company said on Friday that it was considering the implications of the court's ruling and whether to appeal.

($1 = €0.81)

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By: Elaine Mills
+44 208 652 3214

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