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Areva, Alstom Should Lose Bids to Cut EU Fines, Court Aide Says

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Areva SA and Alstom SA should lose bids to get further reductions to EU antitrust fines levied for colluding on electrical-equipment pricing, an adviser to the EU’s top court said today.

Advocate General Paolo Mengozzi of the EU Court of Justice today said in a non-binding opinion Areva and Alstom should lose their appeals to further cut fines. In 2011, the companies won a cut to a joint fine to 48.2 million euros ($65.4 million) from 53.5 million euros. A separate fine for Alstom was cut from 11.5 million euros to 10.3 million euros.

The European Commission, the EU’s antitrust regulator, fined 10 companies, including Hitachi Ltd., a total of 750.7 million euros in January 2007 for fixing prices and carving up the market for gas-insulated switchgear, used to control electricity flow. Munich, Germany-based Siemens received the largest fine of 396.6 million euros for the cartel. The company’s appeal of that fine is pending at the EU top court.

Alstom and Areva representatives didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

In a separate appeal, the EU court adviser today sided with a Siemens AG unit, Siemens Transmission & Distribution SA, saying it shouldn’t be liable for paying part of a 4.5 million euro-fine.

The cases are: C-231/11 P, C-232/11 P, C-233/11 P, C-247/11 P, C-253/11 P.

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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