The European Commission has decided to fine Hungarian oil and gas company MOL €23 million for its participation in a paraffin wax cartel, European Commissioner for Competition Policy Neelie Kroes announced on Wednesday.
MOL was one of ten companies in the cartel, which fixed prices and shared markets for the sale of paraffin wax, Ms Kroes said. The cartel covered about three-fourths of the European paraffin wax market and operated from 1992 until 2005.
The combined fine levied on all of the companies in the cartel comes to €676 million, the fourth-largest ever imposed by the European Commission in a cartel case, Ms Kroes said. It reflects the duration of the cartel and the size of the market -- almost €500 million a year, she added.
Other companies in the cartel were South Africa’s Sasol, which led the cartel and was fined €318 million; France’s Total, fined €128 million;US-based Exxon Mobil, fined €83 million; Italy’s Eni, fined €29 million; RWE of Germany, fined €37 million; Germany’s Hansen and Rosenthal, fined €23 million, Respol of Spain, fined €20 million; Tudapetrol of Germany, fined €12 million; and the Dutch company Shell, whose fine was lifted because it was the first to produce evidence of the cartel. (Reuters)