In 2007, the Commission fined the undertakings Guardian, Asahi Glass, Pilkington and Saint-Gobain for forming an illegal price cartel in the market for flat glass used in windows, doors and mirrors. The Commission imposed a fine of EUR 148 million on Guardian. In 2012, the Commission’s decision was upheld by the General Court.
The Court of Justice concluded this year that the Commission failed to take into account the different structures of the companies. By excluding the intra-group sales when setting the fines, the Commission favoured vertically integrated companies (which sell a high proportion of their products to their own units) to the detriment of other companies such as Guardian.
The Court held that, in order to determine the amount of the fine, no distinction must be made between external and internal sales, as this criterion has no link to the objective pursued, namely that of reflecting the economic importance of the infringement and the weight of each of the undertakings involved.
As a consequence, the Court of Justice set aside the General Court’s judgment, by cutting Guardian’s fine by 30% (from EUR 148 million to EUR 103.6 million).