Glass makers fined over €1.3bn

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Glass makers Asahi, Pilkington, Saint-Gobain and Soliver have been fined over €1.3bn by the European Commission for taking part in an illegal cartel to fix the prices of glass. Between 1998 and 2003, the Commission said that Asahi, Pilkington and Saint-Gobain held regular discussions to allocate car glass supplies to car manufacturers and to keep their own market shares as stable as possible.

The four companies controlled about 90 per cent of the glass used in Europe in new cars and for original branded replacement glass for cars at the time - a market worth about €2bn in the last full year of the infringement.

The Commission increased its fine on St Gobain by 60 per cent to €896m because it was a repeat offender. Pilkington was fined €370m and Soliver €4.4m. Asahi provided additional information to help expose the infringement and its fine was reduced by 50% to €113.5m under the Leniency Notice.

The Commission started the investigation on its own initiative on the basis of information provided by an anonymous informant. The information prompted the Commission to carry out surprise inspections in 2005 at several sites of car glass producers in Europe.