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Volvo Sues Nippon Unit in U.K. Over Price Fixing of Car Glass

Volvo Car Corp. sued a Nippon Sheet Glass Co. unit in London over its involvement in a car-glass price-fixing cartel that ended two years ago with European Union fines of 1.4 billion euros ($1.82 billion.)

The carmaker is seeking “substantial” damages from Nippon’s Pilkington Group Ltd. unit for charging too much for windshields and other car glass from 1998 to 2003, Volvo’s law firm Hausfeld & Co. said today in a statement. The lawsuit was filed July 2 in the High Court in London, records show.

“The car-glass cartel was fined at record levels” by the European Commission “and caused substantial damage to Volvo and others in the struggling car industry,” Anthony Maton, a lawyer with Hausfeld in London, said in the statement.

The commission in November 2008 fined Pilkington, Asahi Glass Co., Cie. de Saint-Gobain SA and Soliver for conspiring to fix prices and allocate markets. The companies at the time controlled about 90 percent of the market for car glass used in the EU region in new cars and branded replacement glass for cars, Volvo said in its statement. Pilkington was fined 370 million euros for its role in the cartel.

David Roycroft, a spokesman for St. Helens, England-based Pilkington, didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

Under EU law, companies affected by a cartel have a right to sue for damages in their national courts and can cite the commission’s decision as evidence.

Volvo, a Swedish carmaker, is being bought by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. from Ford Motor Co.

The case is Volvo Car Corporation v. Pilkington Group Limited, HC10C02207, High Court of Justice Chancery Division (London).

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