Cartel Digest

Gas Insulated Switchgear

Gas Insulated Switchgear
  Overall Cartel Period 1988-2004
  Participants Siemens AG; ABB Ltd.; ALSTOM (Société Anonyme); AREVA T&D SA; Fuji Electric Holdings Co., Ltd.; Hitachi Ltd.; Schneider Electric SA; Siemens Transmission & Distribution Ltd.; Japan AE Power Systems
  Total Fines (DOJ) No fines imposed
  Total Fines (EC) €733.9 million

In May 2004, the European Commission (“EC”) launched raids on suppliers of gas insulated switchgear, a heavy form of electrical equipment used to control energy flows in electricity grids.  The principal customers are public utilities companies that typically select switchgear producers based on “calls for tender;” however from 1988 until 2004, gas insulated switchgear suppliers conspired to inform each other of calls for tender to coordinate their bids.  The participants would take turns placing the best bid according to previously agreed-upon quotas.  In addition to bid-rigging, suppliers also allocated business by geographic market and used code names for companies and individuals in their communications to maintain secrecy. 

 

Enforcement Highlights:

  • The EC imposed fines totaling over €700 million.
  • In July 2011, the General Court of the European Union annulled fines against Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and Toshiba Corp. because the EC used reference years for calculating the fines that were different than the years used for European cartel participants. In June 2012, the European Commission again fined Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and Toshiba Corp. for their participation in the cartel but imposed a lesser fine than previously as per the Court’s ruling.
  • ABB benefited from full immunity for coming forward to the EC with the information that prompted the raids.
  • Siemens, ALSTOM and AREVA were subject to a 50% increase in fines due to their leadership roles in the cartel.
  • In December 2013, the European Court of Justice dismissed Siemens’ appeal and upheld the €396.6 fine imposed by the commission.  The court also dismissed appeals brought by Mitsubishi and Toshiba, confirming the EC’s finding that those companies participated in the cartel.
Europe
Company Fine Date
Siemens AG € 396.6 million 01/24/2007
ABB Ltd. Immunity 01/24/2007
ALSTOM (Société Anonyme) € 65 million 01/24/2007
AREVA T&D SA € 53.6 million 01/24/2007
Fuji Electric Holdings Co., Ltd. € 3.8 million 01/24/2007
Hitachi Ltd. € 51.8 million 01/24/2007
Schneider Electric SA € 8.1 million 01/24/2007
Siemens Transmission & Distribution Ltd. € 22.1 million 01/24/2007
Japan AE Power Systems € 1.4 million 01/24/2007
Toshiba Corp. € 56.8 million 06/27/2012
Mitsubishi Electric Corp. € 74.8 million 06/27/2012