On November 28, 2007, the European Commission (“the Commission”) applied the 2006 Guidelines on Fines for only the second time, fining four companies a total of €486.9 million ($720 million). Asahi, Guardian, Pilkington and Saint-Gobain (“the Parties”) were fined for participating in a flat-glass price-fixing cartel that organized price increases, fixed minimum prices and tried to stabilize or raise prices.
The Commission conducted inspections of the Parties premises after receiving information from various national competition authorities. As the Commission launches the investigation on its own initiative, there was no recipient of immunity. However, Asahi received leniency for the production of evidence.
In setting the fines, the Commission applied the 2006 Guidelines on Fines for the second time, the first being earlier this month in the Commission’s decision to fine Sony, Fuji and Maxwell a total of €74.79 million ($112.1 million) for fixing prices for professional video tapes. However, the Commission was unable to reveal the individual stages in calculating the Parties’ fines due to outstanding matters regarding the confidentiality of their turnover figures.