Four wholesalers dealing in printing chemicals have been fined approximately €1.5 million in total by the Austrian Cartel Court (on the request by the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (“BWB”)) for being involved in a price-fixing cartel.

The four wholesalers involved were: Donau Chemie AG (“Donau”) and Donauchem GmbH (fined €675,000); DC Druck Chemie Sud GmbH & Co KG (“DC Druck” - fined €397,000); Brenntag Austria Holding GmbH and Brenntag CEE GmbH (fined €381,000); Ashland Sudchemie Kernfest GmbH and Ashland Südchemie Hantos GmbH (fined €66,000).

The BWB claimed that the cartel involved collusion relating to price increases, price cuts with the aim to force competitors out of the market, customer allocation and the exchange of information relating to the conditions and payment arrangements (discounts and bonuses).

Donau and DC Druck both applied for leniency. Although DC Druck obtained a reduction to its fine, Donau, which was the first applicant under the Austrian leniency programme, had to pay the highest fine as it did not provide the BWB with all the available information in relation to the cartel, which was one of the conditions necessary for a successful leniency application.