Siemens, Toshiba, Mitsubishi Lose Cartel Appeal at EU Top Court

Siemens AG, Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and Toshiba Corp. lost challenges at the European Union’s highest court to overturn an EU decision that they colluded to set prices in the electrical equipment market.

The EU Court of Justice upheld a 396.6 million-euro ($542.6 million) fine against Siemens. The Luxembourg-based court also dismissed appeals by Mitsubishi and Toshiba against the EU’s finding they had colluded in the cartel.

The ruling isn’t the end of the case as Mitsubishi and Toshiba are still challenging fines related to the cartel in a separate lawsuit.

The European Commission, the EU’s antitrust regulator, fined 10 companies including Areva SA and Alstom SA, 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 electrical flow. Siemens’s fine was the highest in the case, levied for the Munich, Germany-based company’s role as a “driving force” behind the price-fixing.

Toshiba and Mitsubishi in 2011 had their initial fines of 118.6 million euros and 90.9 million euros, respectively, thrown out by the EU’s lower court. While the appeal in today’s case seeking to annul the EU’s decision that they participated in the cartel was pending, the Brussels-based regulator re-imposed new fines on the companies.

Mitsubishi in June 2012 was fined 74.8 million euros and Toshiba was told to pay 56.8 million euros, plus a 4.7 million-euro joint penalty for them. Both companies have new appeals against these fines pending at the lower EU court.

The cases are: C-239/11 P, Siemens v. Commission; C-498/11 P, Toshiba v. Commission; C-489/11 P, Mitsubishi v. Commission.

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