“Trucks The heads of the manufacturing companies met at industry events and conferences and agreed on simultaneous increases in factory prices and timetables for the introduction of new emission-reducing technologies. ”
In this way, the EU competition authority describes the operation of the truck cartel from 1997 to 2011. The members of the cartel – virtually the entire truck industry – received fines totaling EUR 3.8 billion in 2016 and 2017.
The German company MAN, which exposed the cartel, survived without fines, and the sums of the other three companies fell because of their willingness to cooperate.
Instead, the Swedish Scania fought until the last one against the Commission and ended up paying EUR 880 million.
EU The actions of the competition authorities attracted attention in Finland earlier this week, when the authorities marched at the headquarters of Finnish forestry companies to investigate a suspected pulp cartel. It is only a matter of doubt.
Read more: UPM, Stora Enso and Metsä Fiber subject to inspections in large-scale cartel investigation in the pulp sector – Professor: Reasons had to be based on reasonable suspicion
Thus has happened in many areas in the past.
The imposition of prohibited pricing cooperation, that is to say, cartel, ultimately results in a financial loss for legally operating companies and customers. Cartels may also hamper innovation and development in this sector.
That is why they have been hit hard in the EU. Fines imposed on cartels have also been significant in recent years.
HS went through cartel cases and investigations in the EU over the last two decades. The list of cases is long. Raids and the initiation of degrees do not always lead to penalties.
But very often the investigation is based on a report made by one member of the cartel, leaving a considerable amount of evidence at the start of the investigation.
The fines imposed on the truck cartel are by far the largest to date.
In the automotive sector, it is also a questionable honor to be repeatedly on the list of cartel cases.
In 2018 four car shipping companies received fines of € 395 million for the cartel. Manufacturers of car parts have also been under the Commission’s magnifying glass for almost ten years.
For example, manufacturers of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, airbags, spark plugs, steering wheels, bearings and seat belts have had to pay cartel fines totaling more than € 3 billion between 2013 and 2021, according to Case Associates.
Last in July this year Volkswagen and BMW received a total of almost a billion euros fines for prohibited cooperation in diesel car exhaust gas cleaning technology. This time, Daimler exposed the cartel and avoided fines.
Also international banking giants have repeatedly received large fines for fraud in, for example, foreign exchange, interest rate derivatives and bond markets. The cases began to unfold in the aftermath of the financial crisis more than a decade ago.
The total amount of fines imposed on banks amounts to several billion euros.
For example, bank traders had regularly discussed their investments and were thus able to benefit from the market. Market operations had even been planned jointly.
The manipulation of Libor and Euribor interest rates gave rise to a direct scandal that has led to reforms in the way interest rates are set.
Finnish the investigation closest to the company concerned lifts and escalators. Kone was fined EUR 142 million for the cartel in 2007.
The Commission has also distributed large fines for chemical cartels, gypsum board producers and the air cargo market.
EU competition authorities have also had time to consider exposing less significant cartels.
Between 2019 and 2020, the Commission found prohibited price collusion between three Italian producers of canned vegetables.
In previous years, fines have also been imposed on the canned mushroom cartel, the shrimp market, the vitamin market, the Belgian and French beer markets and the French beef producers.
Five In 2014, an envelope manufacturer in various European countries received fines totaling EUR 19 million for a cartel in which prices were agreed and markets were shared.
Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager justified in a press release the importance of the investigation, saying, “After all, all of us use envelopes.”
Cartel investigations in the 21st century
Car parts, 2013-2021: fines totaling more than three billion euros
Manufacturers of various components, such as air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, airbags, spark plugs, steering wheels, bearings and seat belts, have had to pay cartel fines totaling more than € 3 billion, according to data collected by the law firm Case Associates.
Bond market, 2021: fines totaling € 371 million
Bank of America, Nomura and UBS, among others, cooperated illegally in the European government bond market. Some of the participating banks were exempted from fines due to weak solvency.
Canned vegetables, 2019-2020: fines of EUR 32 million
The Commission found prohibited price collusion between three Italian producers of canned vegetables.
Ethylene, 2020: fines of 260 million euros
The Commission fined buyers of the ethylene chemical EUR 260 million for the cartel. Surprise inspections of companies were conducted in 2017.
Foreign exchange market, 2019: fines totaling about one billion euros
Barclays, RBS, Citigroup, MUFG Bank and JP Morgan were fined for cooperating in the foreign exchange market. UBS participated in the cartel but was saved from fines after exposing the cartel to the authorities.
Tantalum electrolytic capacitors, 2018: fines totaling EUR 254 million
The Commission fined a number of Asian manufacturers for the cartel. Sanyo, who exposed the cartel, was released from the fines.
Road transport of cars, 2018: fines of EUR 395 million
The four car shipping companies agreed on prices and shared the market.
Truck cartel, 2016–2017: fines totaling EUR 3.8 billion
The cartel uncovered by the German MAN included MAN, DAF, Daimler, Iveco, Scania and Volvo / Renault.
Air freight, 2017: fines totaling € 780 million
The Commission fined airlines for cooperating in air freight pricing. Lufthansa exposed the cartel and survived without fines.
Euro interest rate derivatives market, 2016: fines totaling approximately EUR 500 million
The three investment banks received fines totaling almost half a billion euros for cooperation in the interest rate derivatives market.
Envelopes, 2014: fines of 19 million euros
Five envelope manufacturers in different European countries were fined for a cartel in which prices were agreed and markets were shared.
Yen interest rate derivatives, 2013: fines of 1.5 billion euros
The Commission fined eight banks a total of € 1.5 billion for engaging in prohibited cooperation in the yen interest rate derivatives market. This derivative cartel was revealed by Barclays, which was released from the fines.
Elevator and escalator cartel, 2007: fines totaling around EUR 1 billion
The large elevator manufacturers received fines totaling almost € 1 billion from the Commission. The aircraft accounted for approximately EUR 142 million of the fine.
There are several interesting degrees open
This year, the Commission launched investigations into the activities of both Facebook and Google in the advertising market.
In 2019, the Commission carried out surprise inspections and launched an investigation into the purchasing cooperation of two French food retailers, Casino and Intermarché. In the same year, the Commission also raided salmon farms. Investigations are still ongoing.
Source: EU Commission