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Brussels, 14th March 2007
Competition: European Commission confirms sending a Statement of Objections to alleged participants in a cartel for flat glass
The European Commission can confirm that it has just sent a Statement of Objections to a number of undertakings regarding their alleged role in a cartel for flat glass.
The Statement of Objections alleges that the undertakings concerned fixed the prices of flat glass products, thereby restricting competition in the EEA market in violation of EC Treaty rules outlawing restrictive business practices (Article 81).
Flat glass is used principally for the manufacturing of glass products used by the building sector. The basic product is float glass, which can be produced in different colours and thicknesses. It can be processed in order to obtain glass products with additional properties e.g. to control energy usage or provide additional safety and security.
The preliminary conclusions outlined in the Statement of Objections are based on the results of inspections carried out on 22 and 23 February 2005 (see MEMO/05/63) and on 15 March 2005, on the Commission’s subsequent investigation and on information supplied under the Commission’s Leniency Notice (see IP/02/247 and MEMO/02/23 for information on the leniency notice then in force).
Statements of Objections are a formal step in European antitrust investigations. After receiving such statements, companies have two months to defend themselves in writing. They can also ask the Commission to hear their case at an oral hearing which usually takes place about one month after the written reply has been received. Only after having heard the company's defence can the Commission take a final decision, which may be accompanied by fines of up to ten per cent of a company’s worldwide annual turnover.