Brussels, 23rd June 2010
Antitrust: Commission re-adopts fine on Bolloré for participation in carbonless paper cartel
The European Commission has re-adopted a decision fining Bolloré €21 million for its participation in price-fixing and market-sharing agreements in the carbonless paper sector, following the annulment of the previous decision (see IP/01/1892) by the Court of Justice for procedural reasons. The new decision imposes the same fine as the original decision, save for a reduction of about €1.4 million to take into account Bolloré's cooperation in the new decision.
The European Commission has re-adopted a fine of €21 262 500 on Bolloré for its participation in a cartel in the market for carbonless paper also known as self copying paper intended for the duplication of documents. The appeals against the Commission decision, of December 2001, were rejected by the EU Courts on 3 September 2009, except for a reduction of the fine on two companies (Arjo Wiggins Appleton and Papelera Guipuzcoana de Zicuñaga) and for what concerns Bolloré. The European Court of Justice considered that Bolloré's rights of defence were infringed because it could not have foreseen from the wording of the original Statement of Objections that the Commission intended to hold it liable not only as a parent company of the cartel participant Copigraph, but also on account of its own involvement in the cartel.
After sending a new Statement of Objections on 15 December 2009, which addressed both the parental liability and the direct involvement of Bolloré, the Commission has re-adopted the decision correcting the procedural error which led to the annulment of the 2001 decision. As during the re-adoption procedure Bolloré no longer contested the participation of its former subsidiary Copigraph in the early stage of the cartel, the reduction for cooperation under the 1996 Leniency Notice was increased from 20% to 25%. The fine of Bolloré is thereby reduced from €22.68 million to €21.26 million.