The companies involved in the cartel are Asahi of Japan, Guardian of the US, Pilkington of the UK, and Saint-Gobain of France.
"The Commission has established that in 2004 and 2005, representatives of these companies met covertly at hotels and restaurants around Europe. At these meetings they conspired to increase prices of flat glass, discussing both the amount and the timing of price increases.
"The companies profited from selling flat glass at artificially inflated prices. The direct victims were the buyers of the flat glass, companies who made products such as double-glazing and safety glass. But the final victims were once again European consumers, who had to pay the price for the glass used in buildings, private homes and apartments," said EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.
"The flat glass market was worth about 1.7 billion euros in 2004. So the companies, and their shareholders, will have done very well out of this cartel. Until today. It is right that the punishment in this case is severe, in order to achieve a sufficient deterrent effect. It is a great pity that the Commission's many previous cartel decisions did not deter these companies from forming this cartel in 2004. The Commission has backed my recommendation for a fine of 486.9 million euros," she added.
Guardian will have to pay the biggest share of penalty, in the total amount of 148 million euros. Pilkington was fined 140 million euros, while Saint-Gobain will be "relieved" of 133.9 euros. After substantial cooperation under the Leniency Notice, Asahi has been fined 65 million euros.
Listen the speech
(© European Community, 2007)
Read the entire speech made by EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes here (© European Community, 2007)
Read the response from NSG Group (Pilkington)