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EU Fines Automotive Lighting and Hella over Cartel but Valeo Escapes Punishment


BRUSSELS — The European Union has fined car lighting system producers Automotive Lighting and Hella 27 million euros ($30.1 million) for operating a cartel with Valeo, which escaped a fine.

“The Commission has sanctioned another cartel in the automotive sector. Three lighting producers harmed car and commercial vehicle manufacturers by colluding instead of competing against each other,” Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement on Wednesday.

The three companies, which make headlamps or daytime running lights, discussed quotes for tenders and negotiation strategies and exchanged information on the status of negotiations with customers regarding price increases, the Commission said.

Valeo revealed the existence of the cartel, thereby escaping a fine of over 30.5 million euros, the Commission said.

Automotive Lighting was fined 16.3 million euros while Hella received a fine of 10.4 million euros.

The Commission has previously set fines for cartels among makers of car air-conditioning and engine-cooling systems and car-battery recyclers. Last year it fined truck producers a total of 2.9 billion euros.

A similar antitrust investigation has been ongoing in the U.S. for several years. The U.S. Justice Department said in March that 48 companies, along with 65 executives, have been charged in the ongoing investigation and have agreed to more than $2.9 billion in criminal fines.

Source: Automotive News, via Julia Fioretti (Reuters)

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