EU fines four chemical companies $350 million for running rubber
European Union regulators levied about $350 million in fines against DuPont and three other chemical companies for fixing the price of a type of rubber used to make shoe soles, condoms and other products, according to the Associated Press. The EU said the cartel operated between 1993 and 2002 and that companies from the U.S., Germany, Italy and Japan colluded to agree on each others'' market shares and set prices for chloroprene rubber. Italy''s Eni SpA faced the highest fine of $194.6 million, followed by U.S.-based DuPont Co., which will pay $71.8 million for the actions of a former joint venture with Dow Chemical Co. called DuPont Dow Elastomers LLC. The operation was disbanded in 2005 when Dow withdrew. DuPont was separately fined an additional $15.6 million. Japan''s Denka Seiken Co. Ltd. was fined $69.3 million, while Tosoh Corp. was fined only $7 million because it cooperated with EU investigators. German chemical maker Bayer AG, due to its role in playing “whistle-blower” and bringing the cartel to the attention of the Commission, according to an EU spokesman. Bayer could have been fined nearly $300 million.