LUXEMBOURG -- A European Union court ordered Thursday that a multimillion-dollar fine imposed on a French company in 2008 over a car-window cartel be cut by 30%.
The ruling of the General Court found that the European Commission, the EU's executive body, had been wrong to add 60% to the initial fine imposed on building materials supplier Saint-Gobain (IW 1000/74).
The commission had said that the increase was a punishment for the company's "repeated infringement."
The Luxembourg-based court ordered that the fine on Saint-Gobain for its part in the cartel be reduced from 880 million euros ($1.2 billion) to 715 million euros.
This was because the company "could not be held liable" for anti-competitive practices for which a subsidiary had been prosecuted in 1988.
The commission had accused Saint-Gobain, a leading European supplier of building materials and products made with glass, of having created a cartel between 1998 and 2003 with Japanese company Asahi (IW 1000/343); Belgian firm Soliver; and Pilkington, a British glass manufacturer.
In 2008, the commission found that the companies had agreed to fix the prices of car windows that they supplied to car manufacturers, with the Saint-Gobain group and its parent company facing the highest fine.
However, the General Court's Thursday ruling upheld the commission's linking of the cartel to a separate 1984 antitrust decision against Saint-Gobain, on the grounds that the company responsible for that infringement did have direct links to Saint-Gobain.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014