EU Fines Bridgestone, Dunlop, Others for Cartel

The companies were fined for running an illegal cartel in the market for hoses used in loading crude oil on tankers.

EU antitrust regulators on Jan. 28 fined Bridgestone, Dunlop and three other companies 131.5 million euros for running an illegal cartel in the market for hoses used in loading crude oil on tankers. The European Commission accused the companies of carving up the marine hoses market among themselves by fixing prices, rigging bids and sharing sensitive commercial information from 1986 to 2007.

The fines targetted Bridgestone, Dunlop Oil and Marine/Continental, Trelleborg, Parker ITR of Italy and the U.S., Italy's Manuli.

"For 20 years, this cartel added to the prices consumers paid for their oil deliveries," EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said. "I will not tolerate illegal cartels and will continue to impose heavy fines on those companies found guilty of this kind of serious malpractice," she added.

Yokohama was spared a fine despite its participation in the cartel because it tipped off EU regulators.

Meanwhile Bridgestone's fine was raised 30% to 58.5 million euros and Parker ITR's was also lifted 30% to 25.6 million euros for leading the cartel while Manuli's fine was reduced to 4.9 million euros for aiding regulators.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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