Bathroom cartel fined £510m

Published:  24 June, 2010

BRUSSELS: Seventeen bathroom equipment makers have been fined £510m (622m euro) by the European Commission (EC) for price-fixing.

The companies, including Ideal Standard, which was fined 326m euros, formed a cartel for 12 years covering ceramics such as sinks, baths and taps.

The cartel co-ordinated prices in Germany, Austria, Italy, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands.

The EC described the firms' practices as "very serious infringements of the EU competition rules".

However, it said its objective was not to force companies in difficulties out of business, and so reduced the fines on five companies to a level they could afford.

One, Masco of Italy, received full immunity as it was the first to provide information on the cartel.

The firms in the cartel were: Artweger, Cisal, Dornbracht, Duravit, Duscholux, Grohe, Hansa, Ideal Standard, Kludi, Mamoli, Masco, RAF, Roca, Sanitec, Teorema, Villeroy & Boch and Zucchetti.

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