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Car air conditioning and engine cooling cartel fined €155 million

The European Commission has fined six car air conditioning and engine cooling suppliers €155 million for taking part in one or more of four cartels in the European Economic Area.13 Mar 2017

The suppliers coordinated prices or markets and exchanged sensitive information on the supply of climate control components and engine cooling components to certain car manufacturers, the Commission said

The companies involved were Behr of Germany, Calsonic, Denso, Panasonic and Sanden from Japan, and Valeo of France. All six acknowledged their involvement in the cartels and agreed to settle the case.

Denso was not fined on three cartels as it revealed their existence to the Commission, and Panasonic escaped a fine on one for the same reason. Behr, Calsonic, Denso, Sanden and Valeo all had their fines reduced for cooperation.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy said: "Even though air conditioning and cooling components are not something you see as products, they are very much something you feel. In this case you might also have felt it in your wallet even though temperatures would still be regulated in your car. Today's decision underlines that we do not accept cartels that affect the European market, wherever and however they may be organised."

The Commission cooperated with antitrust authorities in Japan and the US during the investigation, it said.