Cartel Digest

Carbonless Paper

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Carbonless Paper

Carbonless Paper
  Overall Cartel Period 1992-1995
  Participants Arjo Wiggins Appleton plc; Bolloré SA; Carrs Paper Ltd.; Distribuidora Vizcaina de Papeles SL; Mitsubishi HiTech Paper Bielefeld GmbH; Papelera Guipuzcoana de Zicuñaga SA; Papeteries Mougeot SA; Papierfabrik August Koehler AG; Sappi Ltd.; Torraspapel SA; Zanders Feinpapiere;
  Total Fines (DOJ) No fines imposed
  Total Fines (EC) €271 million

In 1996, the European Commission (“EC”) began an investigation into the carbonless paper industry.  Also known as “self-copying” paper, carbonless paper is used to create duplicates of documents.  Over 90% of the carbonless paper produced can be found in business forms, delivery slips and bank transfer forms.  The EC found that, during the period of infringement, the market value for carbonless paper was approximately €850 million annually in the European Economic Area (“EEA”).  The cartel consisted of members of the Association of European Manufacturers of Carbonless Paper, a group accounting for 85–90% of carbonless paper sales in the EEA in 1994, and three other European producers.  The EC’s investigation revealed that from 1992 to 1995 cartel members agreed to collective price increases and market allocation at national and regional meetings. 


Enforcement Highlights:

  • In April 2007, the European Court of First Instance confirmed the existence and duration of the cartel and reduced the fines imposed on two companies.
  • The total fines imposed by the EC after the Court’s decision was approximately €270 million.
  • Sappi Ltd. received full immunity from its fines for coming forward to the EC with information that launched the investigations.
Company Fine Date
Arjo Wiggins Appleton plc € 141.8 million 12/20/2001
Papierfabrik August Koehler AG € 33.1 million 12/20/2001
Zanders Feinpapiere € 29.8 million 12/20/2001
Bolloré SA € 22.7 million 12/20/2001
Mitsubishi HiTech Paper Bielefeld GmbH € 21.2 million 12/20/2001
Torraspapel SA € 14.2 million 12/20/2001
Papeteries Mougeot SA € 3.6 million 12/20/2001
Distribuidora Vizcaina de Papeles SL € 1.8 million 12/20/2001
Carrs Paper Ltd. € 1.6 million 12/20/2001
Papelera Guipuzcoana de Zicuñaga SA € 1.3 million 12/20/2001
Sappi Ltd. Immunity 12/20/2001