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Tomra Loses EU Court Challenge to 24-Million-Euro Antitrust Fine

April 19 (Bloomberg) -- Tomra Systems ASA, a Norwegian maker of machines that collect cans and bottles for recycling, lost a court challenge to a 24-million-euro ($31.5 million) antitrust fine by European Union regulators for stifling competition.

The EU’s Court of Justice upheld the fine imposed by the European Commission in 2006.

Tomra’s practice of offering rebates and discounts to retailers restricted the market for competitors, the regulator said in 2006. The decision closed an investigation that began with raids in Norway, Germany and the Netherlands in September 2001. Tomra argued the commission used “misleading” evidence in deciding to levy such a heavy fine in its appeals to the EU General Court in 2010 and again in this case before the Court of Justice.

The fine, at more than 7 percent of Tomra’s 2005 sales, was the highest penalty levied as a percentage of revenue in this type of abuse case, the EU regulator said in 2006.

The ruling from the region’s highest court is binding. Tomra lost a lower court appeal against the fine.

The case is C-549/10 P Tomra Systems and Others v Commission.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at awhite62@bloomberg.net.

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

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