Cartel Digest

Copper Fittings

Copper Fittings
  Overall Cartel Period 1988-2001
  Participants Mueller Industries Inc.; Aalberts Industries NV; IMI plc; Delta plc; Advanced Fluid Connections plc; Tomkins plc/Pegler Ltd.; FRA.BO S.p.A.; Viega GmbH & Co. KG; Legris Industries SA; SAHNA Kaimer GmbH & Co. KG; Aquatis France SAS/Simplex Armaturen + Fittings GmbH & Co. KG; Flowflex Holdings Ltd.
  Total Fines (DOJ) No fines imposed
  Total Fines (EC) €314.7 million

In 2001, the European Commission (“EC”) began investigating manufacturers of copper fittings. Copper fittings include copper alloy fittings such as gunmetal and brass, and tubes used to conduct water, air, and gas in plumbing, heating, and sanitation.  The market value for copper and copper alloy fittings in the European Economic Area (“EEA”) was approximately €526 million in 2003 and the investigation revealed that the cartel encompassed virtually the whole EEA.  According to the EC, from 1988 to 2004, cartel members agreed on price increases, rebates and discounts, and allocated markets and customers.

 

Enforcement Highlights:

  • The EC imposed fines totaling over €314 million.
  • Mueller, the only non-European company in the cartel, received full immunity for providing information to the EC.
  • Several subsidiaries were held to be jointly and severally liable with their former parent companies. 
Europe
Company Fine Date
Mueller Industries Inc. Immunity 09/20/2006
Aalberts Industries NV € 100.8 million 09/20/2006
IMI plc € 48.3 million 09/20/2006
Delta plc € 28.3 million 09/20/2006
Advanced Fluid Connections plc € 18.1 million 09/20/2006
Tomkins plc/Pegler Ltd. € 5.3 million 09/20/2006
FRA.BO S.p.A. € 1.6 million 09/20/2006
Viega GmbH & Co. KG € 54.3 million 09/20/2006
Legris Industries SA € 46.8 million 09/20/2006
SAHNA Kaimer GmbH & Co. KG € 7.9 million 09/20/2006
Aquatis France SAS/Simplex Armaturen + Fittings GmbH & Co. KG € 2 million 09/20/2006
Flowflex Holdings Ltd. € 1.3 million 09/20/2006