The Italian competition authority (the AGCM) has fined 11 cement manufacturers, a cement distributor and a trade association more than €184 million for fixing prices and exchanging sensitive information.
The ICA found that for five years between 2011 and 2016, the main cement manufacturers (representing 85% of the Italian cement market), their trade association (AITEC) and a cement distributor (TSC) had actively coluded with one another in violation of Article 101 TFEU. ,
In seven instances, the cement manufacturers agreed to coordinate price increases and then monitored the market for compliance, with dawn raids in December 2016, revealing evidence that simultaneous price rises and similar sales prices communicated to customers in advance has been in practice by the companies and other others in the sector.
Key to facilitating this anti-competitive behaviour was the involvement of the trade association, AITEC, which had allowed its members to discuss prices during the course of its meetings. Monthly statistics circulated by AITEC on cement production were also considered to have helped the illegal cartel monitor their respective market shares.
Finally, the ICA determined that a cement distributor, TSC, had – for two weeks – facilitated the implementation of the infringement by circulating new price lists among the cement manufacturers.
Most of the parties involved have announced their intentions to appeal the findings of the AGCM.