EU drops cartel fines against BASF, Elementis

4th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

The European Commission dropped Monday tens of millions of euros in fines that had been imposed on German chemicals giant BASF and US firm Elementis for their role in a price-fixing cartel.

The fines -- 68.4 million euros ($99 million) for BASF and 32.6 million ($47 million) for Elementis -- were cancelled because the 10-year statute of limitations had expired when they were imposed in 2009, the commission said.

In November 2009, Brussels slapped 173.9 million euros in fines against 10 industrial groups for taking part in a scheme to fix prices of heat stabilisers between 1987-2000.

Elementis and BASF's Swiss subsidiary Ciba quit the cartel in 1998, 11 years before the fines were imposed by the European Union's competition watchdog.

The decision to reverse the fines came after the European Court of Justice clarified in March the legal rules regarding time limits to impose fines, the commission said.

© 2011 AFP

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