Zenith CC&P Current Awareness

European Commission fines battery recycling cartel

9 February 2017

Suzanne Rab

The European Commission has imposed a total of EUR 68 million in fines on Campine, Eco-Bat Technologies and Recylex for their involvement in fixing prices for the purchase of scrap automotive batteries.

Johnson Controls, the leniency applicant, received full immunity from fines.  It appears that the company started its own investigation into suspected cartel activity after an employee reported the activity to a compliance hotline.

The Commission found that between 2009 and 2012 the four recycling companies fixed purchase prices of scrap lead-acid automotive batteries in Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.  The Commission also found that the companies were well aware of the illegal nature of their conduct and also used code names to hide their identities.

The infringement relates to price-coordination on the buy-side of the market, which is unusual but not unprecedented.  The decision shows that regulators will treat collusion to reduce purchase prices as seriously as coordination to raise selling prices.

Source: Commission press release IP/17/245

Current Awareness

By the CC&P team