BONN GERMANY -- The German Federal Cartel Office (GFCO) has imposed fines totaling approximately € 42 million ($57.9 million) on four manufacturers of particleboard, oriented strand board and other wood-based products for conspiring to fix prices of their products.

German Panel Producers Fined for Price FixingThe companies include Glunz AG, Kronoply GmbH, Pfleiderer AG, and Rauch Spanplattenwerk GmbH. Egger Holzwerkstoffe Brilon GmbH & Co. KG was granted immunity from fines in accordance with the authority's leniency program for cooperating in the investigation.

Andreas Mundt of the GFCO, said, "A customer of the cartel informed the (our office) of the possible violations. For many years the companies involved agreed on the prices of their products and significantly restricted competition."

The GFCO said two cartels were uncovered in the course of its investigation. The first concerned raw and laminated particleboard panels, MDF and HDF panels, and tongue and groove particleboard panels which were supplied to trade and industry. From early 2002 until late 2007 representatives of the companies Egger, Glunz, Pfleiderer and Rauch met to agree on price increases, price floors, individual manufacturing surcharges and in some cases customized prices, the agency said.

The second cartel was formed in 2004 for OSB products by Egger, Glunz and Kronoply.


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