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Fines on Company X and Era for price-fixing agreements involving forklift truck batteries

Company X Nederland, an importer of batteries for forklift trucks, and Era, the parent company of the now defunct importer Faam Benelux, have been fined for concluding illegal price-fixing agreements. On July 5, 2017, ACM disclosed the names of five companies that had admitted their involvement in this violation. Their fines have been lowered. Company X Nederland and Era did not admit their involvement in the violation. Their fines are therefore not lowered: in total, they amount to over EUR 1 million. The fine on all seven companies and trade association BMWT (Association of Manufacturers and Traders of Heavy Machinery, Warehouse Equipment, Road Construction Equipment and Transportation Vehicles) totals almost EUR 17.5 million.

Price-fixing agreements

Importers of batteries for forklift trucks, among other vehicles, and their trade association BMWT had agreed on using a so-called ‘lead surcharge.’ The objective of this ‘lead surcharge’ was to incorporate in a structural manner the widely fluctuating price of lead into the retail price of batteries. In addition, they also shared competition-sensitive information among each other. These actions resulted in a restriction of competition.

These agreements were in place between 2004 and 2013. Company X Nederland had been involved in these agreements since January 1, 2013.

On 20 June 2019, the District Court of Rotterdam annulled the fine ACM had imposed on undertaking X. ACM has accepted the court’s judgement.