ERJ staff report (DS)
Melbourne, Australia -- The Federal Court in Melbourne has ordered four suppliers of marine hose to pay penalties exceeding Aus$8.24 million (euro 5.65 million) for engaging in a cartel .
In June 2009, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) instituted court proceedings alleging that Dunlop Oil & Marine, Bridgestone Corporation, Trelleborg Industrie SAS and Parker ITR gave effect to an international cartel arrangement which included the Australian market from 2001 to 2006 for the supply of marine hose.
ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said this conduct was very serious. It was deliberate, ongoing and involved high value transactions.
"This was a highly organised and covert cartel of large multinational companies which worked to suppress and/or eliminate competition by rigging bids, controlling prices and allocating market share in Australia and elsewhere during an extended period of time" he said.
Justice Finkelstein ordered the following penalties for engaging in cartel conduct in breach of Section 45 of the Trade Practices Act 1974:
- Trelleborg Industrie SAS - $3.2 million
- Dunlop Oil & Marine - $2.68 million
- Bridgestone Corporation - $1.6875 Million, and
- Parker ITR - $675,000.
The ACCC said Criminal sanctions for serious cartel conduct do not apply in this instance because the activity pre-dates the 2009 amendments to the Trade Practices Act.
The ACCC added, "ACCC investigators were greatly assisted by both the United States Department of Justice and the United Kingdom Office of Fair Trading in the provision of documents and information located overseas. The ACCC's request for documents was the first the United Kingdom Office of Fair Trading had granted to any overseas regulator under the Enterprise Act 2002 UK.".
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Press release from Australian Competition and Consumer Commission