Cartel Digest

Sodium Chlorate

Sodium Chlorate
  Overall Cartel Period 1994-2000
  Participants Akzo Nobel and EKA Chemicals; Erikem Luxembourg SA and Finnish Chemicals Oy ; Elf Aquitaine SA and Arkema France SA; Uralita SA and Aragonesas Industrias y Energia SAU
  Total Fines (DOJ) No fines imposed
  Total Fines (EC) €79.1 million

In March 2003, the European Commission (“EC”) began investigating manufacturers of sodium chlorate, a chemical used mainly to produce the chlorine dioxide that the pulp and paper industries employ when bleaching commercial pulp.  In 1999, the market for sodium chlorate was approximately €203 million.  According to the EC, from 1994 to 2000, sodium chlorate producers fixed sales volumes and prices at regular meetings at which sensitive commercial information was exchanged.

 

Enforcement Highlights:

  • The EC imposed fines of more than €79 million on eight companies.
  • Akzo Nobel and its subsidiary, EKA Chemicals AB, received full immunity for being the first to inform the EC of the cartel.
  • The EC increased Arkema France’s fines by 90% for having already been fined for cartel activities in three prior Commission decisions.
  • This was the first instance where the Commission had increased the fine for a company because of its previous involvement in cartels. 
Europe
Company Fine Date
Akzo Nobel and EKA Chemicals Immunity 06/11/2008
Erikem Luxembourg SA and Finnish Chemicals Oy € 10.2 million 06/11/2008
Elf Aquitaine SA and Arkema France SA € 59 million 06/11/2008
Uralita SA and Aragonesas Industrias y Energia SAU € 9.9 million 06/11/2008