Two subsidiaries of Swedish company Trelleborg, one based in Virginia and the other in France, have agreed to plead guilty and pay $11m (£7.6m) in criminal fines for their participation in separate conspiracies affecting the sales of marine products.
According to the US Department of Justice (DoJ), Virginia Harbor Services, formerly known as Trelleborg Engineered Products, a manufacturer of foam-filled marine fenders, buoys and plastic marine pilings, participated in a conspiracy between December 2002 and August 2005 to allocate customers and rig bids for contracts to sell foam-filled marine fenders and buoys.
The DoJ also said that the company participated in a separate conspiracy between December 2002 and May 2003 to allocate customers and rig bids for contracts to sell plastic marine pilings. The company has agreed to pay a $7.5m criminal fine and to co-operate fully in a continuing anti-trust investigation.
Foam-filled marine fenders are used as a cushion between ships and either fixed structures, such as docks or piers, or floating structures, such as other ships.
Foam-filled buoys are used in a variety of applications, including as channel markers and navigational aids.
Plastic marine pilings are substitutes for traditional wood timber pilings and are often used in port- and pier-construction projects in conjunction with foam-filled fenders.
For its part, Trelleborg Industrie, a manufacturer of marine hoses, headquartered in Clermont-Ferrand, France, was charged with participating in a conspiracy from 1999 until as late as May 2007 to allocate market shares, fix prices and rig bids for contracts to sell marine hoses: flexible rubber hoses used to transfer oil between tankers and storage facilities.
It has agreed to pay a $3.5m criminal fine and it will also co-operate in the department’s anti-trust investigation.