Friday, July 5, 2013

EU to fine car parts cartel next week: Reports

BRUSSELS: EU antitrust regulators will penalise a group of car parts companies next week for taking part in a cartel, two people familiar with the matter said on Friday, part of a crackdown on a number of cartels in the sector.
The sanctions from the European Commission are expected to be the first of several against car parts suppliers, many of which are now under investigation for fixing prices for products ranging from thermal systems to seat belts and ball bearings.
Antitrust regulators in Japan and the United States have already imposed hefty fines on several car parts suppliers.
Next week's penalties will follow an 11-month investigation into companies that make electric wire systems that power up a car's electronic components, linking the vehicle's computers to various functions. The systems are also known as wire harnesses.
"The wire harnessing decision will be next week," said one of the people, who declined to identify the companies because of the sensitivity of the matter.
The sources said 11 companies had initially been targeted but several were subsequently dropped from the investigation.
The 11 companies initially targeted were Leoni, Furukawa Electric Co, Yazaki, Denso BSE -1.82 %, Sumitomo Electric, Delphi Automotive, Visteon Corp , S-Y Systems Technologies Europe GmbH, G.S. Electech, Fujikura Ltd and Lear Corp.
A spokesman for competition policy at the EU executive, Antoine Colombani, declined to comment.
Yazaki Corp spokesman Daichi Saito said the company was under investigation and was cooperating with the EU competition authority but declined to provide details.
Sumitomo Electric confirmed that it was still under investigation by the EU competition authority but declined further comment.
Furukawa spokesman Toshinori Kimura said the company was one of those initially put under investigation by the EU but declined to comment on its current status in regard to the probe.
"We will cooperate with any further investigation," he said.
Leoni said it does not comment on speculation. "We can react to the Commission's decision only when it will be taken," Leoni spokesman Sven Schmidt said.
The other companies could not immediately be reached for comment.