EU court cuts EU antitrust fines on IMI, Halcor

LUXEMBOURG, May 19 (BestGrowthStock) – Europe’s second-highest court
cut antitrust fines levied on British industrial equipment group
IMI Plc (IMI.L: ) and Greek metal products maker Halcor SA
(XAKO.AT: ) on Wednesday, saying EU regulators had erred in
calculating the penalties.

“The Commission has not proved to the requisite legal
standard that IMI’s participation in the cartel was
uninterrupted, and infringed the principle of equal treatment
when calculating the fines imposed on IMI and Halcor,” the Court
ruled.

It cut IMI’s 44.98 million euro ($55.9 million) fine to
38.56 million and Halkor’s 9.16 million penalty to 8.25 million.

The European Commission had in 2004 fined the two companies
and five others a total of 222.3 million euros for operating a
cartel between June 1988 and March 2001 in the European tube
market.

IMI, Halcor, Swedish miner and smelter Boliden (BOL.ST: ),
Finnish company Outokumpu (OUT1V.HE: ), Italy’s KME Europa Metal
(KME.MI: ) and German cooper product maker Wieland-Werke later
appealed to the General Court against the fines.

HME Nederland did not appeal against its 4.5 million euro
fine, while Mueller Industries (MLI.N: ), which blew the whistle
on the cartel, received immunity and was not fined.

The General Court upheld the Commission’s fine on Boliden
which was 32.6 million euros, KME Europa Metal’s of 67 million
euros, Outokumpu’s 36 million and Wieland-Werke’s 27.84 million.

The court rejected the Commission’s counterclaims for
increasing the fines.

The European Union executive has slapped fines of about 14
billion euros on cartels in the decade to 2009.

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(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by David Holmes)
($1=.8054 Euro)

EU court cuts EU antitrust fines on IMI, Halcor