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  The Commission has just adopted a decision imposing periodic
  penalty payments of 1 000 ECU per day on Hoechst AG in order to
  compel that company to submit to an investigation into its
  suspected participation in restrictive practices relating to the
  fixing of prices and quotas for PVC and polyethylene.
  The investigation was ordered on 15.1.1987 by a Commission
  decision but Hoechst AG refused to submit to it when the
  Commission's inspectors notified the decision on 20.1.1987.
  Under Community law the Commission has powers of its own to
  investigate undertakings and to this end can:
  -     examine the books and other business records,
  -     take copies of or extracts from the books and business
        records,
  -     ask for oral explanations on the spot,
  -     enter any premises, land and means of transport of
        undertakings.
  Companies are obliged to submit to such investigations when they
  are ordered by a Commission decision - subject only to review by
  the Court of Justice in Luxembourg, which has sole powers to
  annul the decision or to suspend its application.
  The Commission notes that Hoechst AG has not yet made an appeal
  to the Court of Justice against the Commission's decision to
  investigate. As long as the Court of Justice has not annulled or
  suspended the Commission's decision it remains valid and
  therefore must be obeyed.
  If a company refuses to submit to a Commission decision to
  investigate certain of its activities the Commission can ask the
  competent national authorities to provide the necessary
  assistance in order to enforce the decision.
                                - 2 -
  On that basis the Commission immediately requested the assistance
  of the Bundeskartellamt which is the competent German authority.
  However, the assistance provided by the Bundeskartellamt was not
  sufficient to overcome Hoechst AG's refusal and to permit the
  Commission's inspectors to carry out an investigation. Hoechst AG
  even obtained an interim order from a local administrative
  tribunal barring the Bundeskartellamt from proceeding with its
  assistance to the Commission.
  In the absence of the necessary assistance by the national
  authorities it is necessary to use the remaining measures
  directly available to the Commission in order to compel
  Hoechst AG to submit to the investigation.
  The Commission considers this case to be of the utmost importance
  and is determined to take every step which it deems necessary to
  overcome this attempt to frustrate the application of its
  lawfully adopted decisions.
  Apart from the decision to impose periodic penalty payments on
  Hoechst AG the Commission is preparing a separate proceeding with
  a view to impose a fine on that company for refusing to submit to
  the investigation ordered by Commission decision.
  The failure by the German authorities to provide the necessary
  assistance to the Commission has lead the Commission to initiate
  separate proceedings against the Federal Republic of Germany for
infringement of the Treaty.

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