Cartel Digest

Flat Glass

Flat Glass
  Overall Cartel Period 2004-2005
  Participants Asahi Glass Co., Ltd.; Guardian Industries Corp.; Pilkington Group Ltd.; La Compagnie de Saint-Gobain SA
  Total Fines (DOJ) No fines imposed
  Total Fines (EC) €486.9 million

In February and March 2005, the European Commission (“EC”) conducted raids on manufacturers of flat glass targeting anticompetitive practices.  Flat glass is primarily used to produce windows, glass doors, and mirrors in the construction of buildings and includes several varieties, such as float glass (the basic flat glass product accounting for about 90% of flat glass capacity), low-E glass (“low emissivity” to minimize condensation and heat loss), laminated glass (used for special safety and security purposes) and unprocessed mirrors (silvered glass used as mirrors).  The market value for these products in the European Economic Area reached an estimated €1.7 billion in 2004.  The EC’s investigations revealed that from early 2004 to early 2005, the cartel members had met in restaurants and hotels in different European countries to agree on the amount and timing of flat glass price increases. 

 

Enforcement Highlights:

  • The EC imposed fines totaling more than €485 million on four companies.
  • Glaverbel (Asahi’s subsidiary, since renamed AGC Flat Glass Europe) was the only non-European company participating in the cartel.  The company received a 50% reduction for cooperating with the EC investigation.
  • The EC independently initiated the investigation on the basis of market information provided by several Member States’ National Competition Authorities. 
Europe
Company Fine Date
Asahi Glass Co., Ltd. € 65 million 11/28/2007
Guardian Industries Corp. € 148 million 11/28/2007
Pilkington Group Ltd. € 140 million 11/28/2007
La Compagnie de Saint-Gobain SA € 133.9 million 11/28/2007