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General Court dismisses power cable cartel appeals


On 12 July 2018, the General Court dismissed all of the appeals against the European Commission’s decision imposing fines of €302 million on 11 producers of underground and submarine power cables for operating a market-sharing cartel.

On 2 April 2014, the Commission decided that the main European, Japanese and South Korean power cable producers had participated in a network of multilateral and bilateral meetings and contacts aimed at restricting the normal competitive process for power cable projects around the world, including in the European Economic Area (EEA).

The producers challenged the Commission’s analysis on various grounds, including that the Commission had failed to prove any infringement of competition law, that the Commission lacked territorial jurisdiction in respect of practices and projects outside the EEA and that parent companies were not liable for the unlawful conduct of their subsidiaries.

The General Court agreed with the Commission’s analysis, finding that the Commission had demonstrated the existence of the cartel to the requisite legal standard; that the Commission had international jurisdiction and that the Commission was correct to conclude that various parent companies, including Goldman Sachs, had exercised decisive influence over the conduct of their respective subsidiaries.

The judgments appear here and here.

David Bailey acted for the European Commission in Case T-438/14 Silec Cable SAS and General Cable Corp v Commission. 

Margaret Gray appeared for the Commission in Cases T-448/14 Hitachi Metals Ltd v Commission and T-450/14 Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd and J-Power Systems Corporation v Commission.