Brussels, 27 June 2012
Antitrust: Commission re-imposes fines on Mitsubishi and Toshiba for gas insulated switchgear cartel following Court judgement
The European Commission has re-adopted a decision fining Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and Toshiba Corporation for their participation in a cartel on the markets for gas insulated switchgears, after part of the original decision (see IP/07/80) was annulled by the European General Court (EGC) for a breach of equal treatment in the setting of the two companies' fines (cases T-113/07 and T-133/07). The EGC entirely upheld the Commission's findings that the two companies had infringed EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and their liability for it. Today's decision ensures that Mitsubishi and Toshiba receive an appropriate fine for their participation in the cartel.
In 2007, the Commission imposed fines of over €750 million on 20 companies for their participation in a cartel on the market for gas insulated switchgear (see IP/07/80). Gas insulated switchgear (GIS) is heavy electrical equipment used to control energy flows in electricity grids. Mitsubishi and Toshiba brought actions for annulment of the Commission's decision before the EGC.
The EGC fully upheld the Commission's finding that Mitsubishi and Toshiba had infringed Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU - TFEU), but annulled their fines because in setting these fines the Commission had used sales figures for a different reference year than for other cartelists. The ECG acknowledged the legitimate aim of the different treatment, i.e. to reflect the fact that contrary to other participants Mitsubishi and Toshiba participated in the infringement via a joint venture in the last two years of the cartel. However the Court ruled that the use of different reference years violated the principle of equal treatment and annulled the fines for the two companies.
In today's decision the Commission re-imposes fines on Mitsubishi and Toshiba for their participation in the GIS cartel, taking full account of the EGC judgments. The newly imposed fines are calculated on the basis of the same parameters as in the 2007 decision with the exception of the reference year. The decision ensures that companies that have infringed EU competition law do not escape sanctions due to procedural shortcomings.
The fines imposed
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation: 74 817 000 euros
Toshiba Corporation: 56 793 000 euros
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and Toshiba Corporation jointly and severally: 4 650 000 euros
Antoine Colombani (+32 2 297 45 13)
Marisa Gonzalez Iglesias (+32 2 295 19 25)