Brenntag disputes price-fixing fine imposed by FCA

29 May 2013 13:37  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Germany-based chemical distribution firm Brenntag has disputed a €48m ($62m) fine imposed on Wednesday by the French Competition Authority (FCA) on its French subsidiary Brenntag SA regarding infringements to competition law between 1998 to 2005.

The FCA decided to fine chemical distributors Brenntag, Caldic East, Univar and Solvadis a total of €79m for their involvement in a cartel, with practices to restrict competition, allocate customers and price fixing being found in Burgundy, Rhone-Alpes, and in the north and west of France.

The companies concerned had more than 80% market share in the distribution of chemical facilities in France, the FCA said. It added that the large-scale collusion involving these distributors of chemical commodities had affected almost all of their customers, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.

Solvadis received immunity from punishment as it was the first to inform the FCA of the existence of the cartel. Brenntag and Univar then filed leniency applications. Brenntag and Univar had their sentences reduced by 25% and 20% respectively for leniency. Univar was fined €15.2m.

Brenntag said it will consider an appeal as it does not agree with the legal qualification of the facts and the calculation of the fine by the FCA.

“Brenntag SA applied for leniency in 2006 and has actively contributed to the investigation and provided all information and proofs working closely together with the FCA regarding the clarification of the facts,” the company said.

“Brenntag Group is committed to free competition and does not tolerate any infringements of antitrust law. Brenntag regularly conducts substantial training programs and has comprehensive policies in place in order to strengthen this commitment,” it added.

Brenntag SA represented about 4% of the Brenntag’s group sales in 2012.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214

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