Elevators & Escalators cartel
On 21 February 2007, the European Commission imposed fines over €990 million on Otis, KONE, Schindler and ThyssenKrupp for having operated cartels for the installation and maintenance of elevators and escalators in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands (the Elevators and Escalators Cartel).
Between 1995 and 2004, the cartelists rigged bids for procurement contracts, fixed prices and allocated projects to each other, shared markets and exchanged commercially important and confidential information. At the time, the Commission pointed out that the effects of this cartel could continue for twenty to fifty years as the cartelised installation resulted in a market distortion on the maintenance market as well, also operated by the cartelist.
Under EU law, any person or business that procured products and services affected by the cartel is entitled to claim compensation for any losses suffered as a result of the higher prices paid due to the price fixing, together with interest since the date of purchase.
Despite being a relatively old cartel, the Elevators and Escalators Cartel has given rise to extensive cartel damages litigation across Europe, which has been shaping the follow-on litigation landscape. Several landmark judgments stemming from this cartel – most recently a December 2019 decision from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) – now form an important set of case-law for claimants in damages actions. Ongoing cases have also set out important evidentiary thresholds impacting claims beyond the Elevators Cartel.
Actions for damages
Hausfeld has been instructed by several purchasers of elevators and escalators to assess and pursue claims relating to this cartel in the Netherlands.