On 1 October 2008, the European Commission (Commission) imposed a total fine of €676m on nine companies for participating in a cartel for paraffin wax. The level of the fine, one of the largest to date, reflects not only the thirteen-year duration of the cartel, but also the size of the affected market. Paraffin waxes are used in a wide variety of products such as candles, chemicals, tyres and the wax coating on cheese. It is also used as a component for rubber, packaging and adhesives. The Commission's investigation began with surprise inspections in April 2005 following a tip-off by Shell. As a result of exposing the cartel, Shell benefited from immunity from fines. The Commission considered Sasol, based in South Africa and Germany, as the cartel leader and its fine would have been increased by 50% had it not benefited a reduction due to its timely and full co-operation with the investigation. Notwithstanding that reduction, it was fined a hefty €318m. It is not yet clear whether the companies concerned will launch an appeal against the decision.