Car battery recycling cartel

Car battery recycling cartel

By decision of 8th of February 2017 (corrected on 6th April 2017) the European Commission imposed a total fine of approx. € 68 million against three groups of recycling companies Campine (Belgium), Eco-Bat Technologies (UK) and Recyclex (France) for seting prices when buying used car batteries. A fourth company, Johnson Controls (US), was not fined because it notifyed the Commission about the existence of the cartel.

Unlike most price fixing cartels, where the companies involved agree to increase their selling prices, the four groups of companies have agreed to lower the purchase prices to be paid to the scrap dealers and collectors. Affected by this cartel were scrap dealers and collectors who collect and resell used car batteries.

Eco-Bat’s action for annulment was rejected as inadmissible on 21st of March 2018 by the European General Court (T-361/17). The European Court of Justice confirmed this decision on 21st of March 2019 (C 312/18 P).

Action by Recylex SA to reduce the fine was dismissed by the European General Court on 23rd of May 2019 (T-222/17). On 3 June 2021, the European Court of Justice issued a judgment rejecting Recylex’s appeal against the judgement ofthe the European General Court (C-563/19 P).

The European General Court partially upheld Campine’s action for annulment on 7th of November 2019; Campine has not sought legal remedy against this decision.

Cartel subject: used lead batteries

Cartel members: Campine, Eco-Bat Technologies, Recyclex, Johnson Controls Inc.

Cartel period: 23.09.2009 – 26.09.2012

Cartel region: Germany, Belgium, France, Netherlands

Affected parties: operators of collection points such as garages, maintenance and repair workshops, battery distributors, scrapyards and other waste disposal sites

CompanyReduction under the Leniency NoticeFine (€)
Johnson Controls1,000

Participating ECDA member law firms

Contact information:

ECDA coordinator: Dr. Anna Lesinska-Adamson
Phone +49(0)30 611 28 40-10

Postal address:
European Cartel Damage Alliance e.V. (ECDA)
Magazinstraße 15-16
10179 Berlin / Germany