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FACTDROP: Commission fines ENI €91 million


Commission fines ENI €91 million

Πηγή: New Europe
March 1 2013

On 1 March, the European Commission informed the Italian oil and gas major Eni that it intends to re-impose an additional fine of €91 million, because of the company’s cartel tactics.

In 2006, the Commission had fined the Eni (and its affiliate Versalis) €272.25 million because of its participation in a synthetic rubber price fixing cartel (known as the Butadiene Rubber and Emulsion Styrene Butadiene Rubber, 'BR/ESBR', cartel). Together with Bayer, Shell, Dow Chemical, Unipetrol and Trade-Stomil the total fine amounted to €519 million. However, back in 2006, being the first to tell the Commission about the cartel, Bayer didn’t pay its fine of €204 million. Moreover, Dow Chemical’s fine was reduced by 40 per cent, paying €64 million, because of the information it provided to back Bayer’s claim.

The Commission imposed today’s fine jointly and severally on ENI and Versalis. This fine included a 50% increase of the basic amount of the fine, amounting to €90.75 million, due to the aggravating circumstance of recidivism. According to the Commission, the same undertaking (Eni) had already committed twice, except the synthetic rubber cartel, the same kind of infringement of EU competition rules in the Polypropylene and PVC II cases back in 1986 and 1994 respectively.

However, in 2011, despite the fact that the General Court fully confirmed the participation of Eni and Versalis in the rubber cartel, it rejected Commission’s accusation for recidivism and Eni managed to avoid the additional fine.

Today the Commission announced that it has sufficient details indicating that Eni had repeated an infringement. According to the press release, the EU body can show that the previous cartel decisions belong to ENI, as it had a (close to) 100 per cent ownership in those companies at the time of their involvement in the 86’ and 94’ cartels.

Eni can request an oral hearing to defend its case.

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