Wire Harness Makers Yazaki, Leoni Fined in EU Cartel Probe

Yazaki Corp., the world’s biggest maker of automotive wire harnesses, Leoni AG (LEO), and two other companies were fined a total of 141 million euros ($180 million) in a European Union probe into a series of price-fixing cartels.

Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd. was not fined for its involvement because it had told the European Commission about the five cartels. The other companies had their fines reduced by 10 percent because they agreed to settle the case with the EU regulator, it said today.

The “decision shows the first results in the commission’s wider investigative effort to detect and sanction any illegal cartels in markets for car parts,” EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in an e-mailed statement. “Such cartels may harm the competitiveness of the automotive industry and artificially inflate prices for final buyers of cars.”

The EU probe, which is part of a wider crackdown on price fixing in the auto-parts industry, follows raids the authority had previously done at makers of wire harnesses, car safety systems, bearings and thermal systems. The Brussels-based EU watchdog can fine companies as much as 10 percent of yearly sales or require them to change the way they do business if it concludes that they harmed competition.

Yazaki received the biggest fine of 125.3 million euros. Furukawa Electric Co. was fined 4 million euros, S-Y Systems Technologies 11.05 million euros and Leoni 1.3 million euros. Wire harnesses control a car’s electric system.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Bodoni in Luxembourg at sbodoni@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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