$2 million penalty for bearings cartel

18 October 2013

The Federal Court has made orders by consent against Koyo Australia Pty Ltd ordering it to pay penalties of $2 million following action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The Court found that in 2008 and 2009, Koyo Australia made and gave effect to two separate cartel arrangements with two of its competitors to increase the price of ball and roller bearings to their aftermarket customers.

Bearings are an essential component in products such as motor vehicles, mining conveyors, household electrical items and farm machinery.

“Detecting, stopping and deterring domestic and international cartels is a priority for the ACCC,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“Cartels not only cheat consumers and other businesses, they also restrict healthy economic growth. It is crucial for the proper functioning of business in Australia that the ACCC continues to tackle cartel conduct with the full force of the law.”

In relation to the penalty amount, the Court said:

“The discount for Koyo’s co-operation and Koyo’s acknowledgement of liability should be meaningful so that it can be seen that, were it not for its admissions now and co-operation, the Court would impose a significantly increased penalty if liability was established following a contested trial.”

The Court has also made orders restraining Koyo Australia from engaging in similar cartel conduct for a period of three years and requiring it to implement a competition and consumer law compliance training program.

Mr Sims said “If you know of, or are involved in a cartel, the best course of action would be to speak to the ACCC and cooperate fully”.

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