Power cables cartel

Power cables cartel

By decision of 2nd of April 2014, the European Commission fined eleven underground and submarine high voltage power cables manufacturers with approximately € 302 million. The procedure itself was initiated by an immunity application of ABB. According to the Commission, between February 1999 and January 2009 the exchange of price information and customer and market allocations between the parties involved in the cartel took place worldwide and in particular in the European Economic Area.

With the exception of EXSYM (formerly SWCC Showa and Mitsubishi Cable), all of the above mentioned manufacturers have brought an action for annulment against the Commission’s decision. The European General Court (EGC) has upheld the fines imposed by the Commission in his judgments of 12 of July 2018. Appeals were brought before the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which since the 14th of November 2019 has rendered the first judgements and mostly dismissed the appeals.

The areas of application of high voltage power cables are wide-ranging. For example, they can serve as power plant connections, cross-border connections of the transmission grids or municipal high voltage grids. They are used e.g. as power plants conncetions, crossborder connections for transmission grids and municipal high voltage grids. Thus, they can be found at industrial plants, offshore facilities, ports, airports and any high voltage power grids.

Cartel subject: (1) Underground power cables with voltages of 110 kV and above, (2) submarine power cables with voltages of 33 kV above as well as (3) all products, works and services sold to the customer related to a sale of power cables when such sales are part of a power cable project.

Cartel agreements: Exchange of information on prices, market and customer allocations

Cartel members: ABB (applicant under the leniency notice), Nexans, Prysmian (formerly Pirelli), J-Power Systems (formerly Sumitomo Electric and Hitachi Metals), VISCAS (formerly Furukawa Electris und Fujikura), EXSYM (formerly SWCC Showa und Mitsubishi Cable), Brugg, NKT, Silec (formerly Safran), LS Cable und Taihan

Cartel period: 18.02.1999 – 28.01.2009

Cartel region: European Economic Area (EEA) and worldwide

Level of fines: About 302 million euros

Affected parties: Any purchasers of high voltage cables; used, in particular, for power station connections, cross-border connections of transmission networks, municipal high voltage grids

CompanyReduction under the Leniency NoticeFine (€)
ABB (Karlskrona, Sweden)1,000
Brugg (Brugg, Switzerland)8.490.000
Nexans (Paris, France)70.670.000
NKT (Holding: Brøndby, Denmark; Cables GmbH: Cologne, Germany)3.887.000
Prysmian (Milan, Italy)104.613.000
of which jointly and severally liable with Pirelli (Milan, Italy)67.310.000
of which jointly and severally liable with Goldman (NYC, US)37.303.000
Safran (Paris, France)8.567.000
Silec (Montreau-Fault-Yonne, France)1.976.000
of which jointly and severally liable with General Cable (Highland Heights, US)1.852.500
of which jointly and severally liable with Safran (Paris, France)123.500
Sumitomo (solely liable) (Japan)0,452.630.000
Hitachi (solely liable) (Tokyo, Japan)0,452.346.000
JPS (jointly and severally liable with Sumitomo and Hitachi) (Ibaraki, Japan)0,4520.741.000
Furukawa (solely liable) (Tokyo, Japan)8.858.000
Fujikura (solely liable) (Tokyo, Japan)8.152.000
VISCAS (jointly and severally liable with Furukawa and Fujikura) (Tokyo, Japan)34.992.000
SWCC Showa (solely liable) (Tokyo, Japan)844.000
Mitsubishi (solely liable) (Tokyo, Japan)750.000
EXSYM (jointly and severally liable with Showa and Mitsubishi) (Tokyo, Japan)6.551.000
LS Cable (Anyang, South Korea)11.349.000
Taihan (Anyang, South Korea)6.223.000

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