14. Sep 16

Truck cartel: Manufacturers may be faced with record penalty

Several truck manufacturers should anticipate an antitrust fine that is likely to be higher than any previous fine to date in the EU. They stand accused, among other things, of price-fixing.

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: The European Commission has been investigating various truck manufacturers from as early as 2011 on account of possible violations of antitrust law. The central focus here is agreements concerning prices and delivery times. Handelsblatt, in addition to other media outlets, reported that these investigations are now in their final stages. According to these sources, the truck manufacturers in question could be faced with a record penalty. In theory, the European Commission can impose fines amounting to up to ten per cent of a business’ turnover. This would potentially entail a fine totalling billions of euros for the cartelists. A decision is expected this summer. Some of the truck manufacturers concerned have already admitted to their participation in the cartel and are said to have also made provisions for paying the fines.

Logistics companies as well as consumers in particular are thought to have suffered enormously as a consequence of the agreements, since the result has been an increase in the prices for all kinds of goods.

If the European Commission imposes fines, it does not mean that the matter is over for the truck manufacturers concerned; those who have been harmed will then be able to take action against the cartelists and may, for instance, assert claims for damages. If the European Commission passes sentence on these truck makers as it is expected to do, then civil actions are likely to have good prospects as well. Businesses that have been negatively affected can turn to lawyers who are competent in the field of antitrust law to assert and enforce their claims.

Violations of competition law or antitrust law can be dealt with severely. Aside from any fines that might be imposed by the authorities, civil actions can involve enormous sums. Formal written warnings, interim orders, injunctions suits and damages claims are all possible consequences.

Businesses that have been harmed or otherwise negatively affected by violations of antitrust law should therefore take advantage of the legal options available to them in order to make up for the damage or loss incurred by the company and maintain their competitiveness.

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