Euro car glass cartel hit with 1.4-billion-euro fine

Daylife/Reuters Pictures

The EU’s antitrust chief on Wednesday fined car glass producers Asahi, Pilkington, Saint-Gobain and Soliver more than 1.3 billion euros ($1.66 billion) for price-fixing, the largest sum ever levied by the EU for a cartel.

The European Commission said the four companies control 90 percent of the glass used to make European cars, a market worth 2 billion euros in 2003.

EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said the companies fixed prices over a period of five years. She said the fines were high because European industry had to “learn the lessons the hard way.”

If you cheat, you will get a heavy fine,” she said. “These companies cheated the car industry and car buyers for five years.”

Regulators said Asahi, Pilkington and Saint-Gobain — the three major suppliers of glass to European automakers — met regularly to discuss target prices, shared out markets and allocated car maker customers from early 1998 to early 2003. Soliver only joined some of these meetings.

Collusion, corruption and greed. The holy trinity of modern corporate governance.

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