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  The European Commission has fined 14 Community producers of welded
  steel mesh a total of 9.5 mecus for organising a cartel in
  contravention of Article 85 of the EEC Treaty, which outlaws anti-
  competitive agreements between undertakings.   Many of the agreements
  of the cartel took effect in 1981 and lasted at least until November
  1985, when the Commission began its investigations.
  The case involves a series of agreements or concerted practices
  designed to fix prices or delivery quotas and to share markets in
  welded steel mesh, a product widely used in the building industry, in
  civil engineering and in many other industries.  The companies
  concerned were the main producers in the six original member states
  and accounted for 47 per cent of production in 1985 in a total output
  worth about 810mecu for the same year.
  For the most part, particular arrangements concerned just one part of
  the common market, such as France, Benelux or Germany, but there was
  always an effect on cross-border trade, since this complex of
  restrictive arrangements was intended to protect national markets.
  Furthermore, the main companies operating in the market, including
  importers, were party to the arrangements, which were themselves based
  on reciprocal agreements.
  In determining the amount of the fines, the Commission has taken into
  account the relatively long duration of most of the infringements
  (between two and five years), their serious nature and the fact that
  they involved practices such as export bans, market partitioning and
  price fixing, which have been outlawed by the Commission in many
  previous cases.  The Commission nevertheless took into account that at
  the time when the cartel was operating the industry was going through
  a period of crisis linked to the general crisis in the European steel
  industry and, in particular, had also been suffering from a structural
  decline in demand and the associated problems of excess capacity.
  Some of the undertakings which were originally party to the
  arrangements subsequently withdrew and thus reduced the effectiveness
  of the cartel.
  The individual fines imposed by the Commission on the different
  undertakings involved in the arrangements are as follows:
  BAUSTAHLGEWEBE        (Germany)               4 500 000 ECU
  TREFILUNION           (France)                1 375 000 ECU
  TREFILARBED           (Luxembourg)            1 143 000 ECU
  BOËL/TREBOS           (Belgium)                 550 000 ECU
  THIBODRAAD            (Netherlands)             420 000 ECU
  VAN MERKSTEIJN        (Netherlands)             375 000 ECU
  FERRIERE NORD         (Italy)                   320 000 ECU
  STEELINTER            (Belgium)                 315 000 ECU
  SOTRALENTZ            (France)                  228 000 ECU
  SOCIETE DES TREILLIS ET
    PANNEAUX SOUDES     (France)                  150 000 ECU
  SOCIETE METALLURGIQUE DE
    NORMANDIE           (France)                   50 000 ECU
  ZND BOUWSTAAL         (Netherlands)              42 000 ECU
  MARTINELLI            (Italy)                    20 000 ECU
  IRLO                  (Italy)                    13 000 ECU

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