DOJ orders divestitures in €350 million SDK and SGL merger
The US Department of Justice ("DOJ") has revealed a settlement under which it will allow Japanese chemicals company Showa Denko K.K.’s ("SDK") planned €350 million ($410.9 million) deal for Germany-based SGL Carbon SE’s ("SGL") graphite business to move forward so long as certain US assets are sold. According to the DOJ, a merged SDK and SGL would control 56 percent of the market that supplies large ultra-high-power graphite electrodes to US electric arc furnace steel mills and would reduce competition and lead to higher prices and lower quality delivery service to customers; these findings have led to the settlement.
EU fines Scania €880 million over emissions price-fixing cartel
The European Commission has found Scania in breach of antitrust rules by colluding for fourteen years with five truck manufacturers on truck pricing and on passing on the costs of new technologies to meet stricter emission rules. The Commission reached a settlement decision in 2016 with majority of the manufacturers involved in the cartel, at which point Scania chose not to settle. Consequently, the Commission's investigation against Scania was carried out under standard cartel procedure. The Commission's investigation revealed that Scania had co-ordinated prices for trucks in the European Economic Area ("EEA") and had passed on to customers the costs for emission technologies required to comply with European standards. The infringement was found to cover the entire EEA from 1997 until 2011. In light of Scania choosing to not cooperate with the Commission and other significant factors, the Commission made the decision to fine the company €880,523,000.
Deutsche Börse AG agrees to pay €10.5 million in fines
Deutsche Börse AG has agreed to pay €10.5 million in fines to settle an investigation into potential insider trading by its CEO Carsten Kengeter and alleged failure to disclose market-sensitive information in connection with the firm's announced merger with the London Stock Exchange in early 2016. Mr Kengeter had purchased 60,000 Deutsche Börse shares worth approximately €4.5 million in December 2015. The public prosecutor's office in Frankfurt investigated whether the shares were bought while the German company was already in secret deal talks with the London Stock Exchange. The deal was later blocked by the European Commission.
Company seeks final approval of $21 million settlement
Purchasers of automotive manufacturing parts have urged a US court to grant final approval of a $21 million settlement to end allegations that the German manufacturer Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG participated in a global price-fixing conspiracy. The agreement would end claims by direct purchasers that Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG unlawfully colluded with other manufacturers to fix the price of automotive devices, causing the claimants to pay artificially inflated prices. More than 48,000 entities have been identified as potential members of the proposed class of purchasers who are eliglble for compensation.
Germany opens ZITiS cyber surveillance agency
Germany's Interior Minister, Thomas de Maizière, has opened a service agency in Munich that will support the German security authorities with technical know-how in cases of cybercrime. The new Central Office for Information Technology in the Security Sphere ("ZITiS") is independent of both the police and the secret service. The new agency forms part of a centralised attempt to tackle cybercrime and digital espionage via mass telecommunications surveillance, data encryption, and mass data collection. According to reports, an estimated €10 million will be utilised for the new agency in its first year, with 120 positions immediately created. The government aims to expand the workforce to 400 by 2022. The centre has been designed to be used as a technological resource for Germany's other security agencies, all of which come under the authority of the interior ministry.