Akzo Nobel NV (AKZA)’s Imperial Chemical Industries lost a court challenge seeking to overturn a 91.4 million-euro ($114 million) European Union cartel fine.
The EU’s General Court dismissed the company’s appeal in a ruling today, rejecting ICI’s arguments that the European Commission set the fine too high and should have reduced it because the company voluntarily submitted evidence to investigators.
A company statement which “merely corroborates” evidence already heard by regulators “does not facilitate the commission’s task significantly” and “is not sufficient to justify a reduction in the fine for cooperation,” the Luxembourg-based court said in the ruling.
ICI, which makes Dulux paints, was one of four chemical makers fined 344.5 million euros by the EU’s antitrust regulator in 2006 for fixing the price of acrylic glass, used to make DVDs, car parts and household appliances. Arkema SA (AKE), also fined for participating in the cartel, won a reduction before the same court in June 2011, cutting its fine to 113.3 million euros from 219.1 million after judges ruled the commission had made mistakes in its calculation.
Akzo Nobel hasn’t decided whether to appeal today’s court ruling, Oskar Bosson, a spokesman for the company, said in a telephone interview. The company has already fully provided for the fine, he said.
“We’ll have to study the ruling and this will take a couple of weeks,” Bosson said.
EU regulators welcomed the court’s confirmation that they calculated the fine correctly and “ICI did not deserve to benefit from a reduction” under leniency rules for whistle- blowers, said Antoine Colombani, a commission spokesman.
Akzo Nobel, the world’s largest paint maker, bought London- based ICI in 2008.
The case is: T-214/06 Imperial Chemical Industries v Commission
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