Antitrust Raids Target Companies Accused of Anti-Competitive Behavior

Several European companies associated with auto glass replacement, specialty chemicals and construction were the target of unannounced antitrust raids by the European Commission and other investigative bodies. The Commission initiated the investigations following what it says were suspicions of anti-competitive behavior. Media reports indicate the raids were coordinated with the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Turkish Competition Authority.

CMA, which has launched its own separate antitrust investigation targeting companies that make additives for cement, concrete and mortar, has stated its investigation involves several other authorities, including the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division.

Though unnamed in official reports, media outlets indicate some corporations in the crosshairs include Swiss specialty chemical producer SIKA and the French company Saint-Gobain. CMA officials say they will not name the parties under investigation but may do so later.

SIKA officials, however, told Reuters that “investigations had occurred concerning a suspicion of price fixing.” A spokesperson told the outlet that even though the company was unaware of “any culpability,” it is cooperating fully.

Reuters also reported Saint-Gobain’s construction chemicals business unit site in Turkey was raided in a predawn inspection. Officials told the outlet Saint-Gobain has not seen any financial impact from “a European Union antitrust investigation into a possible construction chemicals cartel involving several companies.”

The CMA writes in a release that under its leniency policy, a business involved in certain types of anti-competitive conduct may be granted immunity from penalties or a significant reduction in penalty in return for reporting cartel activity and assisting the CMA with its investigation.

The CMA officials say the organization will progress the investigation at pace while ensuring a robust and detailed review is conducted and parties’ rights of defense are respected.

Joshua Huff is the assistant editor for USGlass magazine, AGRR magazizne’s sister publication.

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