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October 2, 2008

Wax Price-Fixing Is Alleged

The European Union imposed one of its highest cartel fines, accusing nine companies of fixing prices and markets for paraffin wax, used in products like chewing gum, tires and candles.

“There is probably not a household or company in Europe that hasn’t bought products affected by this ‘paraffin mafia’ cartel,” said EU antitrust commissioner Neelie Kroes.

Sasol Ltd., ExxonMobil Corp., Eni SpA, Hansen & Rosenthal, Tudapetrol, MOL Nyrt, Repsol SA, RWE AG and Total SA will have to pay a total of €676 million ($951.6 million). South Africa’s Sasol was fined the most — €318 million.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC blew the whistle and thus managed to avoid fines.

Sasol said it intends to appeal the fine.

ExxonMobil said it “deeply regrets its involvement” in the cartel, which operated from 1992 to 2005.

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