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Brussels, 3 August 2010

Antitrust: Commission confirms unannounced inspections in polyurethane foam sector

The European Commission can confirm that, starting on 27 July 2010, Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of companies active in the polyurethane foam sector in several Member States. The Commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated European antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices (Article 101 of the EU Treaty and Article. 53 of the EEA Agreement).

The Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authorities.

Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step into suspected anticompetitive practices. The fact that the 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 Commission respects the rights of defence, in particular the right of companies to be heard.

There is no legal 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.

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