European Commission investigation into the ethylene purchasing market


Clariant and units of Texas-headquartered Celanese Corp. are part of an ongoing competition law investigation by the European Commission into the ethylene purchasing market. The company is assisting the relevant authorities and cannot comment further on the details of an ongoing investigation.

EU’s anti-trust watchdog has confirmed unannounced inspections in the ethylene purchasing sector, in several EU member states. As  per, according to a Berlaymont announcement, the EU executive had concerns over companies that couls had formed a cartel. Raids were carried out on 16 May 2017 at the premises of companies active in ethylene purchasing, to examine if the companies concerned have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices.

According to the Commission, there is no legal deadline to complete inquiries into anticompetitive conduct and “their duration depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of each case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned co-operate with the Commission and the exercise of the rights of defence.” “The Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authorities,” adds the EU anti-trust watchdog announcement. “Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step into suspected anticompetitive practices. The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself. The Commission respects the rights of defence, in particular the right of companies to be heard in antitrust proceedings.”

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