Cartel Digest

Hydrogen Peroxide & Perborates

Hydrogen Peroxide & Perborates
  Overall Cartel Period 1994-2001
  Participants Akzo Nobel NV and EKA Chemicals AB; Akzo Nobel Chemicals International BV; Degussa AG; Edison SpA; FMC Corp. and FMC Foret SA; Kemira Oyj; L'Air Liquide SA and Chemoxal SA;Snia SpA and Caffaro Srl; Solvay SA/NV; Arkema SA/Elf Aquitaine/Total SA
  Total Fines (DOJ) $72.9 million
  Total Fines (EC) €388 million

The European Commission (“EC”), Department of Justice (“DOJ”), and Canadian Competitoin Bureau (“CCB”) all sanctioned manufacturers of hydrogen peroxide for meeting to discuss the implementation and assessment of price increases in the various markets.  Hydrogen peroxide is used primarily to bleach textiles, disinfect surfaces, treat sewage and make persalts, an active substance in synthetic detergents, hair care products and topical antiseptics.  The EC began its investigations in March 2003 and adopted a May 2006 decision imposing fines on cartel members for price-fixing activity from 1995 to 2001.  The market for hydrogen peroxide and persalts in Europe reached an estimated €470 million in 2000.  In May and April of 2006, two manufacturers sanctioned in the Commission’s decision also pled guilty to the DOJ’s price-fixing charges.  The CCB imposed its fines against cartel members in 2008. 

 

Enforcement Highlights:

  • The EC imposed fines of more than €388 million.  Degussa benefited from full immunity for cooperating with the Commission’s investigation.
  • Two companies entered into plea agreements with the DOJ resulting in payments of over $32 million and $41 million respectively.
  • Akzo Nobel entered into an agreement with the CCB to pay over $3 million CAD in fines.
  • A 10-year limitation period on anti-competitive conduct barred the imposition of fines on L’Air Liquide SA and its subsidiary Chemoxal SA despite their involvement in the cartel. 
Company Conspiracy Period Fine (USD) Plea Date No. of Excluded Individuals Plea Agreement
Akzo Nobel Chemicals International B.V. 7/98-12/01 $32 million 05/17/2006 2 Plea Agreement
Solvoy SA 7/98-12/01 $40.9 million 04/20/2006 3 Plea Agreement
Canada
Company Fine Date
Solvay Chemicals Inc. $ 2.5 million 05/12/2010
Akzo Nobel Chemicals International B.V. $ 3.1 million 11/21/2008
Europe
Company Fine Date
Akzo Nobel NV and EKA Chemicals AB € 25.2 million 05/03/2006
Degussa AG Immunity 05/03/2006
Edison SpA € 58.1 million 05/03/2006
FMC Corp. and FMC Foret SA € 25 million 05/03/2006
Kemira Oyj € 33 million 05/03/2006
L'Air Liquide SA and Chemoxal SA No fines imposed 05/03/2006
Snia SpA and Caffaro Srl € 1.1 million 05/03/2006
Solvay SA/NV € 167.1 million 05/03/2006
Arkema SA/Elf Aquitaine/Total SA € 78.7 million 05/03/2006