Cartel Digest

Refrigerant Compressors

Refrigerant Compressors
  Overall Cartel Period 2004-2007
  Participants Panasonic Corp.; Embraco North America Inc.; Embraco Europe S.r.l and Whirlpool S.A.; Danfoss A/S and Danfoss Flensburg GmbH; Appliances Components Companies S.p.A. and Elettromeccanica S.p.A.; Tecumseh Products Company Inc., Tecumseh do Brasil Ltda. and Tecumseh Europe S.A.
  Total Fines (DOJ) $140.9 million
  Total Fines (EC) €161.1 million

Beginning in 2009, regulators in various jurisdictions, including the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the European Commission (“EC”) launched an investigation into an international conspiracy to fix the prices of refrigerant compressors.  Refrigerant compressors cool the devices such as refrigerators and freezers by taking in refrigerant and condensing it, which allows the refrigerant to absorb heat from the device it is cooling.  The DOJ’s investigation found that the conspiracy began in 2004 and continued through 2007.

 

Enforcement Highlights:

  • As of December 2011, the DOJ had imposed fines totaling $140.9 million.
  • On December 7, 2011, the EC announced that it settled with four producers of refrigerant compressors resulting in fines totaling over €161 million.  A fifth company was given full immunity for its cooperation with authorities. 
Company Conspiracy Period Fine (USD) Plea Date No. of Excluded Individuals Plea Agreement
Panasonic Corporation 10/04-12/07 $49.1 million 09/30/2010 2 Plea Agreement
Embraco North America Inc. 10/04-12/07 $91.8 million 09/30/2010 3 Plea Agreement
Danfoss Flensburg GmbH 10/04-9/07 $3 million 10/04/2011 N/A  
Canada
Company Fine Date
Panasonic Corporation $ 1.5 million 11/03/2010
Embraco North America Inc. $ 1.5 million 10/27/2010
Europe
Company Fine Date
Appliances Components Companies S.p.A. and Elettromeccanica S.p.A. € 9 million
Danfoss A/S and Danfoss Flensburg GmbH € 90 million
Embraco Europe S.r.l. and Whirlpool S.A. € 54.5 million
Panasonic Corporation € 7.6 million
Tecumseh Products Company Inc., Tecumseh do Brasil Ltda. and Tecumseh Europe S.A. Immunity