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Battery cartel member considers appeal

Eco bat lead

A UK company fined €32.7m (£27.9m) by the European Commission for its part in a car battery recycling cartel is considering an appeal.

Eco-Bat Technologies was found guilty, along with three other companies, of fixing prices paid for scrap automotive batteries, in breach of EU anti-trust rules.

Now the company has said the fine will be borne by its German and French subsidiaries, Berzelius Metall GmbH and Société de Traitements Chimiques des Métaux SAS.

The company indicated it had anticipated the fine by setting aside €34m in its third quarter accounts for 2016.

“Eco-Bat is reviewing the decision and has not yet determined whether it will appeal any aspects to the General Court of the European Union,” the company said in a statement.

Unlike in most cartels where companies conspire to increase prices, the four recycling companies colluded to reduce the price paid to scrap dealers and collectors for used car batteries.

In addition, French company Recyclex was fined €26.7m and Belgian firm Campine was fined €8.2m for their part. US company Johnson Controls was not penalised because it acted as whistle-blower in revealing the scheme to the Commission.

From 2009-12, the cartel fixed the purchase prices of scrap lead-acid automotive batteries in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

By co-ordinating lower prices, the companies disrupted the market and prevented competition. Other used battery sellers affected by the cartel were mainly small and medium-sized operators and scrap dealers.

Last year Eco-Bat Technologies created a subsidiary called Eco-Bat Battery Technologies, which was formed from the consolidation of three independent businesses within the group.

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