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Nexans Takes Appeal Against Cable-Cartel Raids to Top EU Court

April 8 (Bloomberg) -- Nexans SA asked the European Union’s top court to quash the EU competition regulator’s decision to order antitrust raids that seized swathes of the cable manufacturer’s documents.

The EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg should annul the European Commission’s raids order “in so far as its geographic scope was overly broad, insufficiently justified and insufficiently precise,” Nexans said in its appeal, according to a summary published in the EU’s Official Journal on April 6. Alternatively, the court should send the case back for review to the lower EU court, it said.

The EU General Court, the bloc’s second-highest tribunal, partly annulled commission decisions from 2009 to raid Nexans and Prysmian SpA over their alleged roles in fixing prices for undersea and underground high-voltage power cables, saying the scope of its information-gathering was too wide. That ruling shouldn’t have rejected Nexans’s bid to quash the raids, the company said in its appeal to the EU’s top court.

Rulings by the court in such cases take about 15 months from the time of the appeal. The commission, the EU’s antitrust watchdog, in 2011 sent formal complaints to as many as nine companies, including ABB Ltd., in the wake of its 2009 raids.

Prysmian outbid Paris-based Nexans in 2010 to buy Dutch rival Draka Holding NV, creating the world’s biggest cable maker in an effort to restore margins and counter competition from South Korea.

The cases are: T-140/09, Prysmian, Prysmian Cavi and Sistemi Energia v. Commission, T-135/09, Nexans France and Nexans v. 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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