Official Journal of the European Union

C 48/16

Final Report of the Hearing Officer (1)

COMP/39.605 — CRT Glass

2012/C 48/06

This settlement proceeding concerns a cartel between the four producers of glass for Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT): Asahi Glass Co., Ltd, Nippon Electric Glass Co., Ltd, Samsung Corning Precision Materials Co., Ltd. and Schott AG aimed at coordinating the prices for CRT glass. The cartel infringement covered the entire EEA and lasted from 23 February 1999 to 27 December 2004.


While gathering information on the CRT glass market, the Commission received an immunity application from Samsung Corning, which was conditionally granted on 10 February 2009. In March 2009, the Commission carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of Schott. In June 2009, Nippon Electric Glass applied for immunity or, alternatively, for leniency. In March 2010, Schott applied for leniency.

When initiating proceedings pursuant to Article 11(6) of Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 (2) on 29 June 2010, the Commission invited the four companies to indicate their interest to engage in settlement discussions (3). All companies accepted the invitation.


The settlement discussions were organised in three main phases between July 2010 and July 2011 during which period three rounds of formal bilateral meetings took place between the Commission and each of the parties.

During these meetings, the parties were orally informed of the objections that the Commission envisaged to raise against them as well as evidence supporting those objections. Following the first meeting in July 2010, the parties were given access, at the Directorate-General for Competition’s premises, to the relevant evidence, all oral statements and a list of all documents in the Commission’s file as well as a copy of the evidence that had already been shown to them. Upon requests introduced by Asahi Glass, Nippon Electric Glass and Schott, and insofar as it was justified for the parties to clarify their positions regarding a time period or any other aspect of the cartel, all parties were granted access to additional documents listed in the case file. The parties were also provided with an estimation of the range of likely fines to be imposed by the Commission within the framework of the settlement procedure.

At the end of the third round of meetings, Asahi Glass, Nippon Electric Glass, Samsung Corning and Schott requested to settle (4) and acknowledged their respective liability for an infringement of Article 101 of the TFEU and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement. Furthermore, the parties acknowledged that they are responsible for the behaviour of their subsidiaries which were involved in the cartel. They have also indicated the maximum amount of the fine that they were informed of by the Commission and which they would accept in the framework of a settlement procedure. In their settlement submissions, the parties confirmed: (i) that they had been sufficiently informed of the objections the Commission envisaged raising against them and that they had been given sufficient opportunity make their views known thereupon; (ii) that they did not envisage requesting access to file or to be heard in an oral hearing, subject to the condition that the Statement of Objections (SO) and the final Decision would reflect their settlement submissions; and (iii) that they agreed to receive the SO and the final Decision in English.

After adoption of the SO by the Commission on 29 July 2011, all parties confirmed in their reply that the SO corresponded to the content of their settlement submissions. The Commission could therefore proceed directly to a decision pursuant to Articles 7 and 13 of Regulation (EC) No 1/2003.


The draft Decision retains the objections raised in the SO. It relates thus only to objections in respect of which the parties have been afforded the opportunity to make known their views.

Furthermore, taking into account that the parties have not addressed any issues concerning access to files or their rights of defence to me or to the member of the Hearing Office attending the settlement meetings, I consider that the right to be heard of all participants to the proceedings has been respected in this case.

Brussels, 18 October 2011.

Michael ALBERS

(1)  Pursuant to Article 15 (Articles 15 and 16) of Commission Decision (2001/462/EC, ECSC) of 23 May 2001 on the terms of reference of Hearing Officers in certain competition proceedings (OJ L 162, 19.6.2001, p. 21).

(2)  Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 of 16 December 2002 on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty (OJ L 1, 4.1.2003, p. 1).

(3)  Commission Regulation (EC) No 622/2008 amending Regulation (EC) No 773/2004 as regards the conduct of settlement procedures in cartel cases (OJ L 171, 1.7.2008, p. 3), and Commission Notice on the conduct of settlement procedures in view of the adoption of Decisions pursuant to Article 7 and Article 23 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 in cartel cases (OJ C 167, 2.7.2008, p. 1).

(4)  Article 10a(2) of Commission Regulation (EC) No 773/2004 of 7 April 2004 relating to the conduct of proceedings by the Commission pursuant to Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty (OJ L 123, 27.4.2004, p. 18).