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EU fines 5 cable companies 141 million euros over wire harness activity

The European Commission has fined five companies -- Sumitomo, Yazaki, Furukawa, S-Y Systems Technologies (now a subsidiary of Yazaki) and Leoni – more than 141 million euros for taking part in five instances of price-fixing cartels of wire harnesses to auto manufacturers Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Renault.

A press release said that the five companies operated cartels that controlled the price in the European Economic Area (EEA), coordinating the prices and location of supplies of wire harnesses to the respective car manufacturers. The cartel contacts, it noted, took place both in Japan and in the EEA. "The cartelized car parts were sold to Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Renault including for cars produced in Europe," it said.

The release said that Sumitomo "was not fined for any of the five cartels as it benefited from immunity under the Commission's 2006 Leniency Notice for revealing the existence of the cartels to the Commission." The other companies, it said, received fine reductions for cooperating and for agreeing to settle.

Sumitomo, Yazaki, Furukawa, SYS and Leoni were involved in one or several of the infringements, the release said. The duration of the cartels varied. The earliest infringement was for activity against Toyota, with Sumitomo, Yazaki and Furukawa cited for activity from March 200 to August 2009; for Honda, Sumitomo, Yazaki and Furkuawa were cited for activity from march 2001 to September 2009; for Nissan, Sumitomo and Yazaki were cited for activity from May 2009 to December 2009; for Renault I, Sumitomo and SYS were cited for activity from September 2004 to March 2006; and for Renault II, Sumitomo, SYS and Leoni were cited for activity from may 200 to December 2009.

The largest fines by far were imposed against Yazaki, 125 million euros; followed by SYS, 11 million euros; Furkuawa, 4 million euros; and Leoni, 1.3 million euros, the release said. It added that "Sumitomo received full immunity for revealing the existence of the cartel and thereby avoided a fine of € 291,638 000 for its participation in all five infringements."

A press release from Leoni said that its involvement stemmed from a single instance by one of its subsidiaries between May and December 2009. "Although not itself involved in this violation, Leoni AG as the Group holding company assumes joint liability for this violation as determined under the stipulations of European law," it said, noting that no customers were affected.


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