The General Court (“GC”) handed down its judgement in the appeal against the Commission’s decision in a marine hoses cartel case. In its decision of 28 January 2009, the Commission imposed fines on 11 companies for their participation in the cartel. Five of the fined companies, Parker ITR Srl (Parker ITR), Parker-Hannifin Corp. (Parker-Hannifin), Trelleborg Industrie SAS (Trelleborg Industrie), Trelleborg AB and Manuli Rubber Industries SpA (MRI), lodged an appeal before the GC. As regards Parker ITR and Parker-Hannifin, the GC partially annulled the Commission’s decision and reduced the fines imposed on them from EUR 25.61 million to EUR 6.40 million. The GC held that the Commission erred in holding Parker ITR liable for infringements committed during the period prior to its acquisition of Parker Hannifin, as the Commission failed to demonstrate that there was a structural link between Parker ITR and the entity which preceded it and actually took part in the cartel. Further, the GC held that the Commission has not shown that the transfer was abusive in the sense that it would have been done to avoid liability. As regards Trelleborg Industrie and Trelleborg AB, the GC held that the Commission erred in law in finding that Trelleborg had been involved in a single continuous infringement, but that the infringement rather was a single repeated infringement. The GC found, however, that the error did not affect the duration of the cartel, as the Commission did not impose any fines for the intermediate period. Consequently, the GC found that there was no need to reduce the fine. As regards MRI, the GC partially annulled the Commission’s decision inasmuch as the Commission did not follow its Guidelines in applying the rate of reduction of the fine imposed on the company for its cooperation. The GC stated that neither the earliness of the company’s cooperation nor the degree of added value of the evidence provided by the company was reflected in the rate of reduction, which should have been 40 % instead of 30 %. The GC held, however, that on account of the gravity of the infringement and the duration of MRI’s participation, there was no need to reduce the fine. Source: GCEU Press Release 17/5/2013