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Heat Stabilisers

Related Lawyers: Anthony Maton, Laurent Geelhand
Related Practice Areas: Competition Disputes

In November 2009 the European Commission (“EC”) fined 24 companies from 10 different corporate groups a total of €173.8 million for participating in a price-fixing cartel, contrary to European Law, affecting two categories of plastic additives: tin stabilisers and epoxidized soybean oil and esters (“ESBO/esters”).

The Cartel

Among those companies named in the EC Decision are Akzo, Baerlocher, Ciba, Elementis, Elf Aquitaine (Arkema France), GEA, Chemson, Faci, Reagens and AC Treuhand. The EC found that the cartel covered the whole European Economic Area (“EEA”) and affected the supply of tin stabilisers between February 1987 and March 2000 and ESBO/esters between September 1991 and March 2000.

The EC decision concerns two categories of plastic additives: tin stabilisers and ESBO/esters. Both additives are commodity products with a wide range of PVC applications. For example, tin stabilisers and ESBO/ester are both frequently used in the production of pharmaceutical and food packaging and for plasticised PVC applications such as coatings, floorings, sheets, films and foils. Tin stabilisers are especially prevalent in rigid PVC applications for non-toxic products such as potable water pipes, fittings, profiles and bottles. ESBO/esters are especially prevalent in flexible PVC applications for coated fabrics such as automotive upholstery, clothing, luggage, sporting equipment and wall covering.

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