|Kyodo)—(EDS: ADD NEW INFO IN 2ND GRAF) |
The European Commission said Wednesday it has fined seven companies, including Japan's YKK group, a total of 328.6 million euros (about 53 billion yen) for price-fixing cartels in markets for fasteners and their attaching machines in Europe and worldwide.
The executive body of the European Union imposed the largest individual fine of 150.3 million euros on YKK. This is the largest fine imposed by the commission on a Japanese company for forming a cartel.
The other fines in this latest cartel case include 122.4 million euros for Britain's Coasts group and 40.5 million euros for Germany's Prym group.
The commission said it found four separate infringements in which these companies agreed on coordinated price increases, fixed minimum prices, allocated customers, shared markets and exchanged other commercially important and confidential information.
"It is unacceptable that the major fastening technology producers colluded for such a long time to maintain artificial price levels and to share customers and markets for products which are used every day by a lot of consumers," EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement.
YKK said in a statement, "We will comment as early as possible after examining the contents of the EU action."
The fine imposed on the Prym group was smaller than those on others because it was the first to provide information about the cartels to the commission.
Smaller reductions of fines were granted to the YKK and Coats groups as they also cooperated with the commission in its investigation.