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Court annuls information request by European Commission into cement company competition probe

2016-03-14 11:05:34

Europe: The European Court of Justice has annulled a request for information by the European Commission into several cement producers in a cartel probe. The judgement could restrict the competition watchdog's investigative powers, according to reporting by the Wall Street Journal.

The commission opened an antitrust investigation in late 2010 looking at the activities of Cemex, Holcim, Lafarge, HeidelbergCement and others. Originally the cement companies were suspected by the commission of colluding with rivals to fix prices and share markets in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. However, the investigation was closed in mid-2015 due to insufficient evidence. Since then the cement producers have challenged the commission’s right to ask for the level of detail they requested. The ruling overturns a 2014 decision by the EU's General Court, which said the commission questionnaires were justified.