Cartel Digest

Paraffin Wax

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Paraffin Wax

Paraffin Wax
  Overall Cartel Period 1992-2005
  Participants Sasol; Total; ExxonMobil; Hansen & Rosenthal; MOL Nyrt; RWE; ENI SpA; Shell; Tudapetrol; Repsol
  Total Fines (DOJ) No fines imposed
  Total Fines (EC) €676 million

In 2005, the European Commission (“EC”) launched raids on manufacturers of paraffin wax, which is used in such consumer products as candles, paper cups, chewing gum, adhesive and as an ingredient in tires and other car components.  The raids also targeted slack wax, the raw ingredient used to produce paraffin wax.  During the last year of the infringement, the paraffin wax market was worth an estimated €500 million.  The EC found that, from 1992 to 2005, paraffin wax manufacturers engaged in market allocation and price fixing as part of a cartel referred to as the “paraffin mafia” or the “Blauer Salon” (“blue room”), named after the hotel bar in Germany in which the first cartel meeting occurred.


Enforcement Highlights:

  • The EC imposed fines totaling €676 million on ten companies.
  • Sasol’s fine was increased by 50% for acting as the leader of the cartel. 
  • ENI and Shell’s fines were increased by 60% because they had previously participated in cartel activity, but Shell was ultimately granted full immunity as the first company to provide the EC with information about the cartel.
Company Fine Date
Sasol € 318.2 million 10/01/2008
Total € 128.1 million 10/01/2008
ExxonMobil € 83.5 million 10/01/2008
Hansen & Rosenthal € 24 million 10/01/2008
MOL Nyrt € 23.7 million 10/01/2008
RWE € 37.4 million 10/01/2008
ENI SpA € 29.1 million 10/01/2008
Shell Immunity 10/01/2008
Tudapetrol € 12 million 10/01/2008
Repsol € 19.8 million 10/01/2008