European General Court Upholds Pilkington’s Fine for Antitrust Violations

The General Court of the European Union has rejected NSG Pilkington’s appeal to reduce a $445 million USD (€357 million Euros) fine over the company’s alleged antitrust violations in the sharing and exchange of commercially sensitive information regarding deliveries of automotive glass in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Back in 2008, the Commission had imposed fines, totaling $1.7 billion U.S. dollars (€1.4 billion Euros), on Asahi, Pilkington, Saint-Gobain and Soliver for alleged antitrust violations.

In a later decision, the European General Court allowed Soliver NV—a relatively small glass manufacturer active in automotive glass, as well as other areas—to avoid an almost $5.5 million USD (€4.4 million Euros) fine by ruling that the Commission did not provide enough evidence of the company’s alleged anti-trust involvement.

The court also reduced the fine imposed on Saint-Gobain from $1.2 billion USD (€880 million Euros) to $984 million in U.S. dollars (€715 million Euros) in a later decision.

The court upheld the fine against Pilkington, writing, “Since the fine thus appears, in the light of the circumstances of the case, both proportionate and adequate, the claims that the court should exercise its unlimited jurisdiction by reducing that fine must be rejected.

“It follows from the interim conclusions … that the action must be dismissed in its entirety,” according to court documents.

The court decided Pilkington is responsible for 90 percent of the costs for its appeal and the costs incurred by the Commission. Furthermore, the European Commission will bear 10 percent of the costs incurred by Pilkington, according to the court. The court reasoned that because other fines involved in the case had been later reduced or dismissed that Pilkington’s appeal was understandable.

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