UK’s Synthomer inspected in EU styrene monomer antitrust probe

08 June 2018 13:33 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Synthomer was one of the companies inspected by the European Commission in its investigation into antitrust breaches by styrene monomer purchasing firms, a spokesperson for the UK chemical producer told ICIS on Friday.

The inspection, which took place this week at Synthomer’s London offices, is part of a long-running investigation that goes back at least six years, the spokesperson added.

The company said the outcome of the investigation will “take a while” and was confident its compliance mechanisms would clear it of any wrongdoing.

“Synthomer is obviously one of a number of companies that buy and sell styrene across Europe. They would be certainly one of the smallest companies [purchasing styrene],” said the spokesperson.

“This is, as I understand, a far-reaching investigation going back over the last six years or so. From a Synthomer perspective, we feel we have rigorous compliance [mechanisms] and code of conduct, etcetera.

“We will obviously be fully compliant with the Commission as it conducts its enquiry.”

Other companies participating in the European styrene monomer purchasing market were contacted on Friday but did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier in the day, the EU’s executive body said it had carried out unannounced inspections on companies in the styrene monomer purchasing sector on suspicion they may have breached EU antitrust regulations.

The inspections took place on 5 June in several member states with officials accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authorities.

"The Commission has concerns that the inspected companies may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices. Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step in investigations into suspected anti-competitive practices," the European Commission said.

"The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.”

Picture source: Image BROKER/REX/Shutterstock

By Jonathan Lopez