Press conference by Joaquín Almunia on two antitrust decisions
On 2 April 2014, Joaquín Almunia, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Competition, gave a press conference on two antitrust decisions. The European Commission found that 11 producers of underground and submarine high voltage power cables operated a cartel. The EC imposed fines totalling €301 639 000 for these producers.
Such cables were typically used to connect generation capacity to the electricity grid or to interconnect power grids in different countries. From 1999 onwards and for almost ten years, these companies shared markets and allocated customers between themselves on an almost worldwide scale. Part of this plan was to allocate important high voltage power cable projects in the European Economic Area (EEA), including large infrastructure and renewable energy projects such as offshore wind farms.
The European Commission also found that Ervin, Winoa, Metalltechnik Schmidt and Eisenwerk Würth participated in a cartel to coordinate prices for steel abrasives in Europe for over six years and imposed fines totalling € 30 707 000. Steel abrasives were loose steel particles used for cleaning or enhancing metal surfaces in the steel, automotive, metallurgy and petrochemical industries. They were also used for cutting hard stones such as granite and marble.