Arnhem, the Netherlands, March 15, 2006 — Akzo Nobel has taken a significant step towards closing the door on past antitrust misconduct by agreeing with the United States Department of Justice to plead guilty and pay a USD 32 million (EUR 27 million) fine for an antitrust violation involving the fixing of prices in the U.S. hydrogen peroxide market.
The company’s involvement in the case began in 1998, two years before Akzo Nobel intensified its antitrust compliance program to crackdown on any potential cartel issues. Since 2000, the company has cooperated extensively with the authorities regarding any suspected violations.
“We regret Akzo Nobel’s past conduct and I am determined that we should put the company’s previous breaches of competition law behind us,” said CEO Hans Wijers. “We are fully committed to ensuring that events such as this do not occur again and now operate a zero tolerance policy for those who take part in any anti-competitive behavior.”
At the end of 2005, the company‘s provision for antitrust matters amounted to EUR 204 million, which included a reserve for the anticipated fine.
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.