Web Date: June 12, 2008
EU Sets Fines For Sodium Chlorate
The European Commission has levied price-fixing fines totaling roughly $120 million on producers of sodium chlorate, a paper-bleaching chemical. The companies that have been fined are Finnish Chemicals, now owned by Kemira; Arkema and its former parent Elf Aquitaine; Aragonesas Industrias y Energia; and Uralita.
Between late-1994 and 2000, the commission says, these companies fixed prices and allocated markets through a series of meetings and other illicit contacts. AkzoNobel and its Eka Chemicals subsidiary received full immunity for being the first to provide information about the cartel. Finnish Chemicals' fine was reduced by 50% to $15.7 million because it co-operated with the investigation.
Arkema's fine was set at just over $90 million. "Arkema's shareholders and management should be asking some pertinent questions," says EC Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, "as the company's fine has been increased by 90% because it had participated in three cartels before this one. Companies' fines will keep increasing for repeat offenses."
Arkema says it will consider whether to lodge an appeal with the European Court of First Instance once it receives the full decision.
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