Cartel Digest

Plastic Additives / Heat Stabilizers (ESBO/ Ester)

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Plastic Additives / Heat Stabilizers (ESBO/ Ester)

Plastic Additives / Heat Stabilizers (ESBO/ Ester)
  Overall Cartel Period 1991-2000
  Participants Akzo Nobel NV; Elf Aquitaine SA; Chemson Corp.; Chemtura Corp.; Faci SpA; AC-Treuhand AG
  Total Fines (DOJ) No fines imposed
  Total Fines (EC) €47.3 million

In February 2003, the European Commission (“EC”) launched raids on manufacturers of two types of plastic additives—tin stabilizers and ESBO/esters, which are used in products such as food packaging, credit cards, bottles, flooring and other everyday plastics.  The combined sales of these products in the European Economic Area was approximately €121 million at the time of the infringement.  According to the EC, between 1987 and 2000, the manufacturers held periodic meetings at which they set prices, allocated markets and exchanged commercially sensitive information for the sale of plastic additives throughout Europe.


Enforcement Highlights:

  • The EC raids were prompted by an immunity application by U.S.-based Chemtura Corporation. 
  • The EC repealed its judgments against two companies, Ciba / BASF and Elementis, following a European Court of Justice decision clarifying the applicability of the ten-year limitations period for the imposition of fines by the EC.
Company Fine Date
Akzo Nobel NV € 18.8 million 11/11/2009
Elf Aquitaine SA € 18.6 million 11/11/2009
Chemson Corp. € 3.8 million 11/11/2009
Faci SpA € 5.9 million 11/11/2009
AC-Treuhand AG € 200,000 11/11/2009