Degussa and Nippon fined over ingredient cartel
fine imposed by the European Commission on Tuesday.
German chemical company Degussa is set to contest the €118 million fine imposed by the European Commission on Tuesday.
The Commission fined Degussa and Nippon Soda Co (which must pay €9 million) for fixing the price of a chemical, called methionine, used to promote growth in pigs and poultry.
In a statement on Tuesday, Degussa responded to the Commission move: "The imposed penalty is, in the opinion of Degussa, unacceptable. Degussa will contest the decision."
The Commission did not fine Aventis, which was also implicated in the price-fixing case, because it reported the conspiracy.
The Commission said it levied the fines because the firms showed "a complete disregard for their customers and, ultimately, consumers of chicken and pork meat who paid more for the products concerned than if the companies had engaged in healthy price competition."
The Commission said it had been investigating the case since 1999 and had discovered that the cartel had lasted from 1986 to 1999.
"They agreed on price targets, implemented price increases and exchanged information on sales volumes and market shares for methionine," the Commission said in a statement.
The Commission added that the companies met at 'summits' to determine their prices and to exchange sales volumes. They also met at a technical level.
The Commission said the difference in the size of the fines was accounted for by the disproportionate share of the market held by Degussa, the world's biggest producer of methionine.