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Eni’s Versalis Loses EU Top Court Appeal of Rubber Cartel Fine

Eni SpA’s Versalis unit lost an appeal at the European Union’s top court over an EU antitrust fine for a price-fixing cartel in the rubber market.

The EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg today rejected a bid to overturn or reduce the fine based on Versalis’s claim that regulators made serious mistakes. The EU General Court, the bloc’s second-highest tribunal, in 2011 had already cut the original fine of 272.2 million euros ($362.7 million) to 181.5 million euros because of errors by the EU regulator.

The European Commission, the 27-nation EU’s antitrust regulator, in November 2006 fined five companies 519 million euros for rigging prices of synthetic rubber in a cartel that lasted from at least 1996 to 2002.

The Brussels-based commission in March said it plans to re-impose a 90.75 million-euro fine on Eni and Versalis, as a result of the 2011 lower EU court ruling. Eni in a separate case last month lost an appeal over the same fine at the Court of Justice.

An Eni official said the company couldn’t immediately comment.

The case is: C-511/11 P, Polimeri Europa v. Commission.

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