Cartel Digest

Plasterboards

Plasterboards
  Overall Cartel Period 1992-1998
  Participants Societe Lafarge SA ; BPB PLC; Gebrüder Knauf Westdeutsche Gipswerke KG; Gyproc Benelux NV
  Total Fines (DOJ) No fines imposed
  Total Fines (EC) €478.5 million

In 1998, the European Commission (“EC”) carried out raids on manufacturers of plasterboard. Plasterboard is a construction material made from gypsum plaster between two sheets of paper or other material.  The producers involved in the cartel supplied approximately 80% of the plasterboard manufactured in the European Economic Area (“EEA”), a market worth more than €1.2 billion in 1997.  According to the EC, between 1992 and 1998, cartel members, including three of the largest plasterboard producers in the EEA, fixed the level of price increases in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the Benelux countries.

 

Enforcement Highlights:

  • The EC imposed fines of over €470 million on the companies.
  • The EC reduced the fines for BPB PLC by 30% and Gyproc Benelux NV by 40% for cooperation.
  • The EC ultimately concluded that Etex SA, a fifth company and majority owner of one of the fined companies, did not participate in the cartel and was not responsible for the conduct of its subsidiary. 
  • In July 2008, the European Court of First Instance dismissed the majority of actions brought by the companies challenging the fines. The Court, however, reduced BPB PLC’s fine by 10% based on its cooperation.
Europe
Company Fine Date
Societe Lafarge SA € 249.6 million 11/27/2002
BPB PLC € 138.8 million 11/27/2002
Gebrüder Knauf Westdeutsche Gipswerke KG € 85.8 million 11/27/2002
Gyproc Benelux NV € 4.3 million 11/27/2002