The European Commission has imposed fines totalling 101.44 million Euros on Carbone Lorraine, SGL, Schunk, and two other companies for operating a cartel in the market for carbon and graphite products.
A sixth company, UK-based Morgan Crucible, also participated in the cartel, but received immunity from fines for being the first to denounce the illegal behaviour to the Commission.
According to the Commission, the six companies operated a secret cartel between October 1988 and December 1999. During this period, the companies, which control 93% of the European market, held more than 140 meetings to decide price increases for a broad range of products as well as for large individual customers and to ward off outside competition by undercutting the few rivals left.
For its part in the affair, Carbone Lorraine received a 43.05 million Euro fine, Schunk was hit for 30.87 million Euros, SGL had to pay 23.64 million Euros, while Hoffman and Conradty were fined 2.82 and 1.06 million Euros, respectively.
During the same period, some of the companies were participating in two other cartels and have already been punished by the Commission. These cartels concerned graphite electrodes and speciality graphite. SGL, which was part of all three cartels, has now been fined a total of 131 million Euros and Carbone Lorraine has been fined 50 million Euros for its participation in two of them.