This week, the BKartA imposed a fine of approx. € 1
million for price fixing and customer allocation against five
manufacturers as well as a wholesaler of paper plates.
The BKartA started investigating the six participants in the
cartel (Feinpappenwerk Gebr. Schuster GmbH, Hosti International
GmbH, CL Rick Produktionsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, PAPSTAR
Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, Dr. Rösler
& Weiss KG and Zechel Pappteller GmbH) following complaints
to the BKartA by purchasers of the cartelised products.
The investigation uncovered that for years, at least for the
period between 1999 up until the dawn raids conducted in October of
2002, the cartel participants had met on numerous occasions and
agreed prices and allocated customers between them. The cartel
activity covered the products such as paper plates, bowls,
fast-food-plates and decorative paper for cakes.
Immunity applications were submitted by a number of cartel
participants (Schuster, Hosti, Rösler and Zechel) during
the course of the investigation, the undertakings cooperating fully
with the BKartA for the entire investigation. This was acknowledged
by the BKartA when setting the fines, thereby reducing the fines
for the cooperating undertakings. The fines against the four
cooperating undertakings are legally binding and the undertakings
will not appeal.
The other two undertakings involved (CL Rick and PAPSTAR) have
similarly agreed to a settlement with the BKartA, accepting the
fine as legally binding and refraining from bringing an appeal
before the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court, in return for
a smaller reduction of the fine set by the BKartA.
It remains unclear why the investigation has taken over 8 years
for the fining orders to be issued, the initial dawn raids taking
place in 2002.
To view Community Week, Issue 505; 21st January 2011
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Any person who claims to be the victim of anti-competitive practices and wishes to seek compensation for the prejudice they consider to have suffered must prove before the civil courts that the three conditions of third party liability under general laws –negligence, competitive harm, and direct causal link– have been met.
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