for Price-Fixing to Remain within the EC; Saint-Gobain Expects Auto
The European Commission (EC) fined four glass manufacturing companiesAsahi
Glass Co., Guardian Industries, Pilkington (part of the NSG Group)
and Saint-Gobain EUR 486.9 million (approximately USD 719.2
million) for price-fixing on November 28 (CLICK
HERE to read related article).
According to the EC's statement the fines were imposed because
the companies "coordinated price increases and other commercial
conditions for deliveries of flat glass used for windows, glass
doors and mirrors within the European Economic Area."
Since the announcement, questions have surfaced as to where the
money, once collected from the manufacturers, will go? Will, for
example, it be distributed back to customers?
According to Mattias Sundholm, acting spokesperson/acting head,
press and public diplomacy for the Delegation of the European Commission
to the U.S., the money stays within the EC.
"All fines levied on cartel cases go into the EC budget," says
Sundholm, "thereby reducing member state contributions and ultimately
benefitting tax payers."
In addition, information on the EC's website states: "Any person
or firm affected by anti-competitive behavior as described in this
case may bring the matter before the courts of the member states
and seek damages, submitting elements of the published decision
as evidence that the behavior took place and was illegal. Even though
the Commission has fined the companies concerned, damages may be
awarded without these being reduced on account of the commission
According to Sophie Chevallon, exterior communications director
of Saint-Gobain, Saint-Gobain expects another fine from the EC either
at the end of the first quarter or beginning of second quarter 2008
regarding its auto glass division.
"The sanction could be a lot higher than this one," Chevallon says,
explaining that the period of time being investigated is longer
for the automotive glass case than it was for flat glass.
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