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Alliance One, Deltafina Lose EU Antitrust Fine Court Appeal

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Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Universal Corp.’s Italian unit Deltafina and Alliance One International Inc. lost European Union court appeals against antitrust fines totaling 54 million euros ($75 million) for colluding on prices they paid tobacco growers.

The EU General Court, the 27-nation region’s second-highest tribunal, ruled today that the penalties were valid.

The European Commission, the EU’s antitrust regulator, fined four companies, including two Alliance One units, 56 million euros for unlawfully rigging prices for more than six years in a cartel that ended in 2002. Deltafina was fined 30 million euros while Alliance One was held jointly liable with its two units for a 24 million-euro penalty.

The ruling follows decisions by the court in a similar case concerning the Spanish market last year in which Deltafina won a reduction in an 11.9 million-euro antitrust fine for fixing the prices it paid Spanish growers for tobacco. Alliance One last October lost an appeal over its fine in the cartel.

Spokespeople for the companies in the U.S. didn’t immediately respond to calls outside normal office hours.

The cases are: T-12/06, Deltafina v. European Commission; T-25/06, Alliance One v. European Commission.

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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