The European Commission has started legal proceedings against manufacturers of heat stabilisers involved in a cartel. It has been investigating cartel allegations since 2003 and now has issued Statements of Objections to at least two companies.
The start of the investigations in 2003 saw co-ordinated action by regulators in Europe, Japan, the USA and Canada. In Europe raids were carried out on the premises of 14 companies in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy and Britain.
A Statement of Objections is the start of proceedings, but does not necessarily mean that a company receiving one will be confirmed as having taken part in a cartel and fined. AkzoNobel and Ciba say they have been issued with a Statement of Objections. Other announcements may yet follow.
Both companies are now no longer involved in heat stabilisers. Ciba sold its PVC heat stabiliser business in 1998 and AkzoNobel sold its Akcros business in 2007, and says the allegations on the Statement of Objections refer to activities before 2001.