EU fines animal feed phosphates makers €175.6m for price-fixing

20 July 2010 13:37  [Source: ICIS news]

European Commission headquarters, BrusselsLONDON (ICIS news)--The European Commission has fined producers of animal feed phosphates a total of €175.6m ($228.3m) for price-fixing in its first “hybrid” cartel case, the EU's executive body said on Tuesday.

“I am again surprised that the main producers of a vital compound for animal feed abused a substantial part of the European animal feed market for nearly 35 years, said Joaquin Almunia, Commission vice president in charge of competition policy.

All the companies except for Kemira settled the case with the Commission and therefore received a 10% reduction in their fines.

The Commission said it was informed about the cartel, which existed from 1969 to 2004 and covered most of the EU, by Finnish chemicals producer Kemira in 2003.

The company, which divested its animal feed phosphates business in 2004, said in a statement that it had cooperated with the European Competition during the investigations and that as a result had not been fined.

The companies involved operated a market-sharing and price-fixing cartel, whereby they allocated market shares, feed phosphates sales quotas and customers among themselves, and coordinated prices and sales conditions when necessary, the Commission said.

The Commission's investigation started with unannounced inspections in February 2004. A bundle of six statements of objections were sent to the companies involved in November 2009.

Animal feed phosphates are chemical compounds used in feed for animals such as cattle, pigs, poultry, fish and pets.

Companies involved in the investigation


Groups

Reduction under the Leniency Notice

Reduction under the Settlement Notice

Final amount of the fine ( in euros)

1.

Yara Phosphates Oy (FI)

Yara Suomi Oy (FI)

Kemira Oyj (FI)

100%


0

2.

Tessenderlo Chemie N.V. (B)

50%

10%

83,752,000

3.

Ercros S.A. and Ercros Industrial S.A. (ES)


10%

14,850,000

4.

Quimitécnica.com – Comércio e Indústria Química S.A (PT)

José de Mello SGPS S.A. (PT)

25%

10%

2,795,000*

5.

FMC Foret S.A. (ES)

FMC Chemicals Netherlands B.V. (NL)

FMC Corporation (USA)


10%

14,400,000

6.

Timab Industries S.A. (FR)

Compagnie Financière et de Participation Roullier ('CFPR') (FR)

5%


59,850,000

Source: European Commission

($1 = €0.77)

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By: Hilde Ovrebekk
+44 20 8652 3214



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