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Brussels, 23 rd September 2009
Antitrust: Commission carries out unannounced inspections in the cement and related products sector
The European Commission can confirm that on 22 nd and 23 rd September 2009 Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of undertakings active in the cement and related products industry in Spain. The Commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated EC Treaty antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and/or abuse of a dominant market position (Articles 81 and 82 respectively).
The Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the Spanish competition authority.
Surprise inspections are a preliminary step into suspected anticompetitive practices. The fact that the European Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself. The European Commission respects the rights of defence, in particular the right of companies to be heard in the Commission’s proceedings against them.
There is no strict deadline to complete inquiries into anticompetitive conduct. Their duration depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of each case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned co-operate with the Commission and the exercise of the rights of defence.