The European Commission has imposed fines totalling EUR 34.2 million on the Bayer and Zeon groups. Both companies were found to be participating in a price fixing cartel in relation to nitrile butadiene rubber. Nitrile butadiene rubber is a type of synthetic rubber used mainly in car manufacturing for fuel and oil handling hoses, seals, o-rings and water handling applications. The Commission found that, between late 2000 and 2002, Bayer and Zeon raised or otherwise stabilised prices through a series of meetings and other contacts. The fines imposed on Bayer and Zeon were reduced by 30 per cent and 20 per cent respectively because these companies cooperated in the investigation under the Commission's 2002 Leniency Notice. However, Bayer’s fine was also increased by 50 per cent because it had already been fined for cartel activities by a previous Commission decision.