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Saint-Gobain’s EU Fine Cut to $1.15 Billion to Correct Error

Cie. de Saint-Gobain SA’s record European Union cartel fine was reduced to 880 million euros ($1.15 billion), or less than two percent, after regulators said they corrected a calculation error in the original penalty.

Nippon Sheet Glass Co. unit Pilkington also had its fine cut to 357 million euros from 370 million euros, or 3.5 percent, the European Commission said in an e-mailed statement today.

“The corrections became necessary because of two errors in computing the fines,” the Brussels-based authority said in the statement. “Some of the sales of these two companies should not have been included in the sales figure used as a basis to set their respective fines.”

Saint-Gobain, Europe’s largest building-materials supplier, was handed an 896-million-euro penalty in 2008, the highest EU cartel fine against a single company, for plotting with rivals to fix the price of car windows sold to auto manufacturers from 1998 to 2003. Saint-Gobain’s penalty was increased because the company was a repeat offender already punished for a separate cartel to fix prices for glass used in the construction industry.

Saint-Gobain and Pilkington have challenged the fines at the EU’s General Court in Luxembourg.

EU antitrust fines are based on sales of products concerned and are capped at a maximum of 10 percent of companies’ total annual revenues.

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