18.2.2012   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 48/18


Summary of Commission Decision

of 19 October 2011

relating to a proceeding under Article 101 of the Treaty (1) and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement

(Case COMP/39.605 — CRT Glass)

(notified under document C(2011) 7436 final)

(Only the English text is authentic)

(Text with EEA relevance)

2012/C 48/07

On 19 October 2011, the Commission adopted a decision relating to a proceeding under Article 101 of the Treaty and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement. In accordance with the provisions of Article 30 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003  (2), the Commission herewith publishes the names of the parties and the main content of the decision, including any penalties imposed, having regard to the legitimate interest of undertakings in the protection of their business secrets.

1.   INTRODUCTION

(1)

The Decision relates to a single and continuous infringement of Article 101 of the Treaty and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement in the sector of glass for Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT Glass) and is addressed to four undertakings: (i) Samsung Corning Precision Materials Co., Ltd.; (ii) Nippon Electric Glass Co., Ltd.; (iii) Schott AG; and (iv) Asahi Glass Co., Ltd.

2.   CASE DESCRIPTION

2.1.   Procedure

(2)

Following the immunity application of SCP (3), the Commission carried out unannounced inspections in March 2009 at the premises of Schott (4). Requests for information were sent by the Commission to the main CRT Glass producers. NEG (5) and Schott applied for a reduction of fines.

(3)

Proceedings were initiated in this case on 29 June 2010. Settlement discussions took place between 13 July 2010 and 1 July 2011. Subsequently, the cartel members submitted to the Commission their formal request to settle pursuant to Article 10a(2) of Regulation (EC) No 773/2004. On 29 July 2011, the Commission adopted a Statement of Objections and the parties all confirmed that its content reflected their submissions and they remained committed to follow the settlement procedure. The Advisory Committee on restrictive practices and dominant positions issued a favourable opinion on 17 October 2011 and the Commission adopted the Decision on 19 October 2011.

2.2.   Addressees and duration of the infringement

(4)

The following undertakings infringed Article 101 of the Treaty and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement by participating, during the periods indicated below, in anti-competitive activities with respect to the supply of CRT Glass in the EEA:

(a)

Samsung Corning Precision Materials Co., Ltd. from 23 February 1999 to 27 December 2004;

(b)

Nippon Electric Glass Co., Ltd. from 23 February 1999 to 27 December 2004;

(c)

Schott AG from 23 February 1999 to 10 May 2004;

(d)

Asahi Glass Co., Ltd. from 2 March 1999 to 4 October 2004.

2.3.   Summary of the infringement

(5)

The Decision concerns a single and continuous infringement of Article 101 of the Treaty and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement aiming at restricting price competition in the CRT Glass sector in the EEA.

(6)

Parties to the infringement coordinated the CRT Glass activities in the EEA by engaging in anticompetitive activities which qualify as direct and indirect price coordination. At bilateral and trilateral cartel meetings, they coordinated prices for CRT Glass by using a variety of means including coordination of CRT Glass prices for specific customers and also occasionally setting target prices for certain CRT Glass types. The parties established at the bilateral and trilateral meetings a high degree of transparency with respect to the past, present and future situation of their respective market positions in terms of price evolution, demand of major customers, their respective supply shares for major customers, ongoing output and capacity developments. Furthermore, all parties supplemented their price coordination activities by exchanging through their marketing staff on an ad hoc basis confidential and sensitive market information (such as EEA sales, stock levels, customer developments, raw material costs and estimates of the demand and sales).

(7)

Overall, the cartel lasted from 23 February 1999 until 27 December 2004. However, as from mid-July 2001 to December 2002, the cartel went through a period of limited activity with significantly fewer instances of anti-competitive contacts, which were moreover in most instances limited to less sensitive commercial information. Therefore, this period is considered as a period of limited cartel activity.

2.4.   Remedies

(8)

The Decision applies the 2006 Guidelines on Fines (6). With the exception of SCP, the Decision imposes fines on all companies listed under point (4) above.

2.4.1.   Basic amount of the fine

(9)

The basic amount of fine is set at 16 % of the undertakings’ sales of CRT Glass to customers in the EEA.

(10)

The basic amount is multiplied by the number of years of participation in the infringement in order to take fully into account the duration of the participation for each undertaking in the infringement individually.

(11)

The duration of the undertakings’ involvement in the alleged infringement is for AGC (7) 3 years and 11 months, for NEG and SCP 4 years and 5 months and for Schott 3 years and 10 months. The period of limited activity (as explained above in point (7)) is not taken into account for purposes of calculating the fines.

2.4.2.   Adjustments to the basic amount

2.4.2.1.   Aggravating circumstances

(12)

There are no aggravating circumstances in this case.

2.4.2.2.   Mitigating circumstances

(13)

Due to mitigating circumstances, the fines for two undertakings are reduced.

(14)

AGC and Schott receive a reduction of the fine, as these companies were involved in the cartel only to a limited extent respectively in the early and later period of the cartel. Schott does not qualify for a reduction of the fine under the Leniency Notice. However, the fine imposed on Schott is reduced in view of Schott’s effective cooperation outside the scope of the Leniency Notice and beyond its legal obligation to do so.

2.4.2.3.   Specific increase for deterrence

(15)

In this case, there is no need to increase the fine for achieving a sufficiently deterrent effect.

2.4.3.   Application of the 10 % turnover limit

(16)

It is not required to adjust the amounts in the light of the undertakings’ turnover in this case.

2.4.4.   Application of the 2006 Leniency Notice

(17)

SCP is granted immunity from fines and NEG is granted a reduction of fine of 50 %.

2.4.5.   Application of the Settlement Notice

(18)

As a result of the application of the Settlement Notice, the amount of the fine to be imposed on NEG, Schott and AGC is reduced by 10 %.

3.   FINES IMPOSED BY THE DECISION

(19)

For the single and continuous infringement dealt with in this Decision, the following fines are imposed:

(a)

on Samsung Corning Precision Materials Co., Ltd.: EUR 0;

(b)

on Nippon Electric Glass Co., Ltd.: EUR 43 200 000;

(c)

on Schott AG: EUR 40 401 000;

(d)

on Asahi Glass Co., Ltd.: EUR 45 135 000.


(1)  With effect from 1 December 2009, Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty have become Articles 101 and 102, respectively, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (the Treaty). The two sets of provisions are, in substance, identical. References to Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty should be understood as references to Articles 81 and 82, respectively, of the EC Treaty where appropriate.

(2)  OJ L 1, 4.1.2003, p. 1.

(3)  Samsung Corning Precision Materials Co., Ltd. and its relevant subsidiaries.

(4)  Schott AG and its relevant subsidiaries.

(5)  Nippon Electric Glass Co., Ltd. and its relevant subsidiaries.

(6)  OJ C 210, 1.9.2006, p. 2.

(7)  Asahi Glass Co., Ltd.