Glass makers hit with huge fine

Four car glass makers have been hit with the European Commission’s largest cartel fine after being found guilty of “cheating” car buyers.

Asahi Glass, Pilkington, Saint-Gobain and Soliver have been ordered to pay 1.38bn euros (£1.14bn;$1.73bn).

The companies were fined for illegal market-sharing and exchanging commercially sensitive information between 1998 and 2003.

Saint-Gobain alone was fined 896m euros after repeat offences.

This represents the biggest single cartel fine imposed on an individual company.

The four companies control 90% of the glass used for new cars in the European Economic Area, a market that was worth 2bn euros in the last full year of the infringement.

The Commission found that the offending companies held regular discussions to allocate glass supplies to car manufacturers and keep their individual market shares as stable as possible.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: “These companies cheated the car industry and car buyers for five years. The Commission has imposed such high fines because it cannot and will not tolerate such illegal behaviour.”

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