Global Processing

EU fines Akzo Nobel, BASF for price-fixing

December 28, 2004
The European Union fined three big chemical companies euro66.4 million (US$88.2 million) for fixing prices on animal-feed vitamins, the Associated Press reports. German firm BASF AG was ordered to pay the largest fine of euro35 million (US$46.5 million), while Dutch company Akzo Nobel NV was fined euro21 million (US$27.9 million) and Belgium''s UCB SA was fined euro10.4 million (US$13.8 million). The three companies were found guilty of secretly colluding between 1992 and 1998 to set prices and share markets for additive chorine chloride. U.S.-based company DuCoa and Canada-based Chinook were also found guilty of colluding on pricing, but escaped fines because the statute of limitations on their actions had expired. Because the North American companies no longer participated in Europe after 1994, their crimes fell outside the five-year period of limitation for the imposition of fines. But regulators warned them not to engage in such behavior in the future. The investigation was part of a series of cases stemming from U.S. regulators'' discovery of widespread rigging of vitamin prices in the 1990s.