EU Court Decision Significantly Reduces Cartel Fines in Marine Hose Investigation

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On May 17, 2013, the EU General Court partially annulled a 2009 European Commission decision in the Marine Hose cartel case and significantly reduced the fine imposed on hose manufacturer Parker ITR by nearly 75% from 25.61 million euros to 6.4 million euros. As part of its ruling, the Court found that the Commission had incorrectly calculated the period of the infringement by Parker ITR and found that the Commission had not demonstrated a sufficient “structural link” between Parker ITR and a predecessor entity that had engaged in cartel activity. It therefore annulled the share of the fine relating to activities before January 2002, the date on which Parker-Hannifin acquired ITR.

Background -

In January 2009, the European Commission fined five marine hose manufacturers and related entities for participating in anticompetitive schemes to allocate tenders issued by their customers, agree on price lists and quotas, and collude in other ways. Marine hoses are used to load oil and other petroleum products from vessels to onshore and offshore facilities. The Commission issued fines ranging from 4.9 million euros up to 58.5 million euros for the companies’ role in the cartel starting as early as 1986.

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