Siemens takes legal action against antitrust fines EU
Erlangen, Germany – Siemens intends to go to the European Court of Justice to take legal action against antitrust fines of round about €396 million charged by the EU Commission. The company denies the blanket accusation of the EU Commission that it participated in a cartel in the European market for 72 kV and higher gas-insulated switchgear systems (GIS) between 1988 and 2004. Price fixing in the GIS segment took place only in a few projects in the European economic area and only in the period between October 2002 and April 2004.
"The fines are completely exaggerated, and we cannot understand how the Commission arrived at these amounts," said Dr. Udo Niehage, President of the Power Transmission and Distribution (PTD), the Siemens Group that manufactures GIS systems.
Since investigations began, PTD has fully cooperated with the EU Commission and made available the results of internal investigations. The accusation that Siemens participated in a cartel in the market for gas-isolated switchgear systems from 1988 to 2004 goes far beyond the findings of Siemens’ internal investigation. The company has repeatedly made clear in statements to the EU Commission that it considers the Commission’s opinion unjustified for the most part. The company will therefore take legal action.
With the acquisition of VA Tech in 2005 and the integration of VA Tech T&D in the PTD Group, Siemens assumed financial responsibility for VA Tech. This responsibility also involves accepting any legal consequences resulting from past antitrust violations on the part of VA Tech. VA Tech companies in Italy, France, Great Britain and Austria were served with antitrust fines totaling round €22 million at the same time Siemens was charged antitrust fines. In the VA Tech cases, the fines seem disproportionately large as well, and legal action will be taken against any unjustified accusations.
Siemens has clear, binding rules that define ethical and legal business conduct. The internal investigations indicate that three Siemens PTD employees fixed prices between October 2002 und April 2004. These employees were suspended immediately after accusations became known and no longer work for Siemens. "We do not tolerate conduct on the part of individuals that does massive damage to the company," said Dr. Udo Niehage.
The Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution Group (PTD), headquartered in Erlangen, Germany, is one of the leading global players in its market sector. As a product supplier, system integrator, solution designer and service provider, Siemens PTD ensures – for utilities and industry alike – the efficient and reliable transmission of electrical energy from the power plant to the consumer. With a worldwide workforce of about 27,500 and operations in more than 100 countries, PTD had sales of 6.5 billion euros in fiscal 2006 (ended September 30). Further information at: www.siemens.com/ptd
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EC fines members of gas insulated switchgear cartel