Background / Facts of the case On April 15, 1988, nine European and five Japanese undertakings had signed an agreement whose purpose was to divide the worldwide market for high voltage gas-insulated switchgears (GIS) over 72 kV) (GIS-agreement). Between 1988 and 2004, the companies rigged bids for procurement contracts, fixed prices, allocated projects to each other, shared markets and exchanged commercially important and confidential information. On May 11, 2004 the European Commission initiated a procedure against the undertakings for violation the EC Treaty's ban on restrictive business practices (Article 81). While the Hungarian market was likely to be affected by the GIS-agreement, the cartel ceased its activity before the date of accession of Hungary to the European Union (i. e.
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