General Court refuses interim measures in pre-stressing steel cartel appeal

The Court has rejected an application by a steel producer to suspend the operation of a Commission cartel decision pending its appeal.

Companhia Previdente – Sociedade de Controle de Participacoes Financeiras SA is appealing against a finding that it was jointly and severally liable for infringements committed by Socitrel. The company requested that the Court suspends its obligation to pay its part of a total cartel fine of €458.42 million, or to provide a bank guarantee, until a decision is made in the case.  

Companhia Previdente argued that the application was sufficiently urgent (i.e. it could not wait for the outcome of the main proceedings without suffering serious and irreparable damage) because banks had reduced the company’s lines of credit and were unwilling to provide it with a guarantee. However, the Court found that there was no specific evidence that the company had sought a guarantee. Furthermore, the Court stated that the condition for urgency in granting interim remedies (under Articles 278 and 279 TFEU in conjunction with Article 256(1) TFEU) will only be met if serious and irreparable damage would be suffered if the remedy were not put in place, and pecuniary damage will rarely be considered to be irreparable. In the circumstances, the requirement for urgency was not met and the Court rejected the application.