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Five oil companies back in court over Swedish price-fixing cartel

ChannelNewsAsia: Five oil companies back in court over Swedish price-fixing cartel

“competition authority… asked that the fines for Statoil, OK-Q8, Norsk Hydro, Preem and Shell be raised to a total of 369 million kronor (40.2 million euros, 49.3 million dollars)

Posted 24 August 04

STOCKHOLM : Five oil companies were back in court in Sweden over a 1999 price-fixing cartel, with the Swedish competition authority demanding in appeal that the quintet’s fine be increased seven-fold.

In the first day of hearings at the Swedish Market Court, the competition authority, Konkurrensverket, asked that the fines for Statoil, OK-Q8, Norsk Hydro, Preem and Shell be raised to a total of 369 million kronor (40.2 million euros, 49.3 million dollars).

The five companies were found guilty by a Stockholm district court in April of violating Swedish competition laws in 1999 when they reached a number of agreements to implement simultaneous price cuts and promotional deals.

They were fined a total of 52 million kronor, much lower than the 651 million kronor sought by the competition authority.

The court said that the competition authority had failed to prove that the quintet had struck a general, long-term price deal.

Konkurrensverket, which has argued that the cartel cost consumers some 500 million kronor at the pump, wants Statoil fined 125 million kronor, Shell 111 million kronor, Preem 45 million kronor, OK-Q8 51 million kronor and Norsk Hydro 37 million kronor.

The case is expected to be concluded in late November.

– AFP

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