Rubber cartel

The European Commission has imposed fines totalling €34,230,000 on the Bayer and Zeon groups for fixing the prices of Nitrile Butadiene Rubber.


The European Commission has imposed fines totalling €34,230,000 on the Bayer and Zeon groups for fixing the prices of Nitrile Butadiene Rubber (NBR).


NBR itself is a type of synthetic rubber consisting of a complex family of unsaturated copolymers of acrylonitrile and butadiene. Resistance to petroleum fluids, good physical properties and useful temperature range make NBR widely used in the motor industry.


For its part in the ill deed, the German giant Bayer was fined €28,870,000, while the Japanese firm Zeon needs to pay €5,360,000.


The Commission said that between late 2000 and 2002, Bayer and Zeon managed to raise or otherwise stabilise the prices of NBR through a series of meetings and other illicit contacts.


‘This is the fourth cartel decision in the synthetic rubber industry in just over 3 years. I hope that this is the last. Buyers of synthetic rubber should be concerned about how much these cartels have cost them. And shareholders should be concerned about how much the fines have cost them,’ said Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.