Royal Dutch Shell and Dow Chemical lost a court appeal on Wednesday against a fine levied by EU regulators five years ago for taking part in a cartel. However, the court cut a fine imposed on Italy's Eni, as per Reuters, The General Court, Europe's second-highest, also annulled penalties levied against Czech petrochemicals group Unipetrol and Polish company Trade-Stomil.
With regard to Unipetrol, its subsidiary Kaucuk and Trade-Stomil, the Court considers that the evidence admitted by the Commission is not sufficient for a finding that those companies participated in unlawful agreements. For Eni and its Polimeri Europa subsidiary, the court cut the joint fine to €181.50 mln from €272.25 mln, saying a change in corporate structure and control had undermined the European Commission's argument that the companies had repeated an infringement. But the Court upheld the €160.88 mln fine on the Royal Dutch Shell group. While it annulled part of the Commission's ruling against Dow, it did not reduce the fine of €64.58 mln. The European Commission had levied a total fine of €519 mln against the 5 companies in 2006 for fixing prices and sharing customers for certain types of synthetic rubber used to make tyres, shoe soles and golf balls between 1996 and 2002. Germany's Bayer was not fined as it alerted the Commission to the cartel.