EU Fines Clariant for Ethylene Price Fixing

15.07.2020 - The European Commission has fined Swiss specialty chemicals producer Clariant €155.8 million for its role in an ethylene purchasing scheme that also implicated other chemical producers, including US-based Celanese.

Clariant said it had made a provision for the investigation and the potential fee in its balance sheet in 2019.

The Muttenz-based company, now owned to 31.5% by Saudi Arabian petrochemicals producer SABIC, stressed that a single former employee was implicated in the extensive investigation dating back to May 2017.

 At that time, EU inspectors, accompanied by the relevant national competition authorities, raided corporate offices In several countries on concerns that the ethylene buyers may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), which would mean agreeing fixed prices.

In a statement this week, Clariant said it “deeply regrets” the violation and is “disappointed that its strong culture of compliance, based on a clear Code of Conduct and an antitrust compliance program including a multitude of tailored antitrust trainings, was not upheld.”

The chemical producer noted that it had assisted authorities throughout the investigation and fully cooperated with the Commission, which had led to a reduced fine. Clariant said it will “continue to promote the highest ethical standards and ensure compliance in the future.”