The EU Commission fines ethylene purchasers in the chemical industry for participating in a cartel aimed at purchasing a product at the lowest possible price (Orbia / Clariant / Celanese / Westlake)

On 22 January 2021, the European Commission published a non-confidential version of its decision to fine ethylene purchasers Orbia, Clariant and Celanese a total of EUR 260 million for participating in a cartel aimed at purchasing ethylene at the lowest possible price, to the detriment of ethylene sellers. Westlake, a fourth participant, applied for and received full immunity having disclosed the existence of the cartel. This case is the first purchasing cartel in the chemical industry in Europe to be sanctioned under the Commission’s 2006 Guidelines on fines. Unlike most cartels where companies collude to increase their own sale prices, in purchasing cartels a group of competitors collude to coordinate their purchasing strategies with the objective of reducing the purchase prices

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Authors

  • Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
  • Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
  • Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)

Quotation

Daniel Vowden, Adrian Brown, Daniel Barrio, The EU Commission fines ethylene purchasers in the chemical industry for participating in a cartel aimed at purchasing a product at the lowest possible price (Orbia / Clariant / Celanese / Westlake), 14 July 2020, e-Competitions July 2020, Art. N° 99577

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