Price fixing suspected in flat glass market

25 March 2008

The european commission has alleged that various unnamed companies in the flat glass sector have operated a cartel to fix prices in the European Economic Area (EEA). The main end market for flat glass is the construction sector.

The Commission's allegations have been sent to several glass manufacturers in the form of a ‘Statement of Objections'. This document was compiled following raids on several companies' premises in February and March 2005 and the Commission's subsequent investigations. The companies visited in 2005 included Saint-Gobain.

The Commission also says it has received information under its Leniency Rules. These allow guilty companies to apply for a reduced fine by admitting to infringements of competition law.

Following the receipt of the Statement of Objections, companies have two months to respond in writing to the Commission. They can also request a face-to-face meeting with Commission officials to present their case, and these usually take place about a month after the submission of written responses.

Once the Commission has heard the companies' defence it can take a final decision. Sanctions for anti-competitive behaviour can include fines up to 10% of a company's annual worldwide turnover.

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