On October 1, 2008 the European Commission (Commission) imposed fines totaling €676 million on Exxon Mobil, ENI, Hansen & Rosenthal, Tubapetrol, MOL, Repsol, Sasol, RWE and Total for participating in a price-fixing and market-sharing cartel in the market for paraffin and slack waxes in the European Economic Area (EEA). The infringement, which lasted from 1992 to 2005, was brought to the Commission’s attention by Shell. In return for its cooperation, Shell was granted full immunity from fines. The fines imposed on Sasol were increased by 50 percent for its leadership role in the cartel, while the fines imposed on ENI were increased by 60 percent for its involvement in previous cartel activity.
The market for paraffin and slack waxes is estimated to be worth €500 million annually. Paraffin wax is used in numerous consumer products, such as candles, paper cups and plates, chemicals, tires, car components, rubber, packaging and certain adhesives. Slack wax is a raw material used in the production of paraffin wax.