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Coats Group fined £86m as ECC unravels illegal cartels

Global thread supplier Coats Group has been fined £86 million by the European Competition Commission for running illegal cartels in the fasteners market.
The company was fined last week after an investigation by the ECC found it had been operating cartels – one lasting 21 years, from 1977 to 1998 – with six other firms. The combined fine totalled more than £230m.

The businesses were found to have been co-ordinating price increases, fixing minimum prices, allocating customers, sharing markets and exchanging other commercially important and confidential information relating to the zips, snaps and rivets market.

“It is unacceptable that the major fastening technology producers colluded for such a long time to maintain artificial price levels and to share customers and markets for products which are used every day by a lot of consumers,” said competition commissioner Neelie Kroes. “The highest management of these companies was well aware that this conduct was illegal, but decided to continue with it anyway.”

The other seven companies involved were Japan’s YKK Group, which received the largest fine at more than £105m; as well as Prym Group, Scovill Group, A. Raymond S.A.R.L, Berning & Söhne GmbH & Co and Fachverband Verbindungs und Befestigungstechnik.

According to reports, Coats plans to appeal against its fine.

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