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A total fine of €68 million for cartel behavior among four lead battery recyclers

Unlike in most cartels where companies plot to increase the sales price, four recycling companies plotted to reduce the purchase price paid to scrap dealers and collectors for used car batteries between 2009 and 2012. By coordinating the prices paid for these batteries, normal functioning of the market had been disrupted and fair price competition had been prevented.

These actions had been in breach of EU antitrust rules. Therefore, Eco-Bat Technologies UK was fined €32,7 million, Recyclex France was fined €26,7 million and Campine Belgium was fined €8,2 million. Johnson Controls USA fully avoided a €38,5 million fine since the company revealed the existence of the cartel to the European Commission.

According to a recent press release of the Commission, contacts between the four recycling companies took place on a bilateral basis. The parties were all well aware of the illegal character of their contracts and sometimes tried to disguise them by using coded language, for example referring to weather conditions to signal different price levels. Campine will undertake further action by appealing against the decision before the General Court of Luxembourg, whereas Recyclex and Eco-Bat Technologies are still considering to undertake further actions.

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