Tessenderlo, Wienerberger Raided in EU Antitrust Pipe Probe

Tessenderlo Chemie NV and Wienerberger AG units were among the makers of plastic sewage pipes and fittings raided by European Union antitrust regulators last month.

The European Commission said it made surprise visits to companies in several countries over concerns they violated antitrust rules that forbid price-fixing agreements. It didn’t identify the companies.

Tessenderlo’s plastic-fittings unit, Nyloplast Europe, was one of the companies inspected, said Ingvild Van Lysebetten, a spokeswoman for the Brussels-based company. Wienerberger’s Pipelife unit was also visited by EU officials, according to a company official who declined to be identified in line with the firm’s policy.

Tessenderlo agreed to pay an 83.8 million-euro ($102.6 million) fine in 2010 to settle an EU probe over price fixing for animal-feed phosphates. Regulators can fine companies as much as 10 percent of annual sales for colluding with competitors.

Wienerberger, the world’s largest brick maker, bought the 50 percent stake in Pipelife it didn’t already own from Solvay SA for 162 million euros in February. Wienerberger has been fully consolidating the unit since June 1. Pipelife produces plastic pipes, pipe systems and plastic dies and operates 27 plants in Europe and the U.S. The company had sales of 804.5 million euros last year.

Uponor Oyj of Finland and Teraplast SA of Romania both said they weren’t visited. Georg Fischer Piping Systems of Switzerland said it doesn’t make products for sewage use and wasn’t raided.