The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ordered that a fine imposed on Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) in connection with a 2001 European Commission decision be reduced by over EUR 10 million.

In the 2001 decision, the Commission imposed fines on five firms, including ADM, for their participation in an alleged cartel on the citric acid market. ADM appealed the Commission’s decision to the European Court of First Instance (CFI), seeking to annul the decision or reduce the fine imposed. In 2006, the CFI rejected ADM’s appeal.

ADM subsequently appealed to the ECJ and this time the Court agreed with ADM. The ECJ annulled the CFI’s decision and also found that the Commission had erred. In particular, the ECJ concluded that the Commission had unlawfully characterised ADM as a “leader” of the cartel, which would warrant a higher fine. As such, the CFI erred as a matter of law in upholding the fine on ADM and its decision was set aside. Rather than send the case back to the CFI, the ECJ rendered a final judgment reducing the fine on ADM from EUR 39.69 million to EUR 29.4 million.