On 28 January 2009, five companies—Bridgestone, Dunlop Oil & Marine/Continental, Trelleborg, Parker ITR and Manuli—were fined EUR 131 million by the European Commission for participating in a cartel for marine hoses between 1986 and 2007 in violation of Article 81 EC and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement.
A sixth member of the cartel, Yokohama, applied for immunity under the 2006 Leniency Notice and thereby revealed the existence of the cartel to the Commission. As a result, the Commission conducted surprise inspections coordinated with several other jurisdictions in May 2007 and for the first time also inspected a private home.
The Commission concluded that the producers of marine hoses operated a worldwide cartel. The cartel members allegedly fixed prices for marine hoses, allocated bids and markets and exchanged commercially sensitive information. Cartel members are alleged to have referred to some markets as their "private markets" and agreed upon several pages of detailed rules to limit their conduct on the market.
In setting the fines, the Commission took into account the respective affected sales of the companies involved as well as the combined market share and the geographical scope of the cartel agreements. Consequently, Yokohama, the “whistleblower”, received full immunity from fines. Manuli’s cooperation with the investigation was rewarded with a 30 per cent reduction of its fine and two other participants’ fines were increased by 30 per cent because of their leadership of the cartel.