Arnhem, the Netherlands, May 3, 2006 — Akzo Nobel is close to resolving one of its past antitrust misconduct issues following today’s announcement by the EU Commission that fines totaling EUR 388 million have been issued against seven chemical groups involved in a competition law infringement in the hydrogen peroxide market in Europe.
This includes a fine of EUR 25.2 million for Eka Chemicals A.B., Akzo Nobel Chemicals (Holding) B.V. and Akzo Nobel N.V. (collectively “the Akzo Nobel Companies”).
Except for the amnesty applicant, the fine imposed on the Akzo Nobel Companies is the fine with the highest reduction (40%), given for its cooperation with the EU Commission’s investigation. It should be noted that the Akzo Nobel Companies were not involved in an earlier EU Commission decision concerning anticompetitive behavior in the hydrogen peroxide market in 1984.
“Following the recent resolution of the hydrogen peroxide investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, today’s decision by the EU Commission brings us closer to resolving all previous breaches of competition law,” said Akzo Nobel CEO Hans Wijers.
“We will, of course, have to study the full decision—which is expected within the next few weeks—before we can comment in detail and decide whether or not to file an appeal. I do want to reiterate, however, that we regret Akzo Nobel’s past conduct and are fully committed to ensuring that events such as this do not occur again. Indeed, we operate a zero tolerance policy for those who take part in any anticompetitive behavior.”
At the end of 2005, Akzo Nobel‘s provision for antitrust matters amounted to EUR 204 million. This anticipated fine was provided for in full.
Hydrogen peroxide is widely used as a bleaching agent in the pulp and paper industry, and is also used in applications in the textile, electronics, energy production, mining, cosmetics and food processing industries.