The European Commission has sent a Statement of Objections to a number of companies alleging that they participated in a cartel in the paraffin wax industry. Paraffin wax is mainly used for candles, but can also be used to coat hard cheese or grease the surface of surfboards. A South African petrochemical company has confirmed publicly that its two German units have received the Statement of Objections from the Commission. The companies have two months to submit a written defence to these allegations. If the Commission finds that a cartel was in operation, the companies concerned could face fines of up to 10 per cent of their worldwide turnover, depending on the gravity and duration of their infringement.