Commission will repay cartel fines

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The European Commission is to repay price-fixing fines levied on the British chemicals company Elementis and its Swiss peer Ciba two years ago. Elementis will get back the full €23.4m (£21m) fine plus interest, while Ciba, a unit of the German group BASF, stands to receive €68.4m.

Elementis said the commission had decided to revoke its decision after the company filed an appeal with the General Court of the European Union.

In November 2009, the European Commission fined 24 companies a total of €173m for belonging to a cartel that fixed prices for heat stabilisers used in the production of PVC.

But EU regulators said yesterday that a court judgment earlier this year had clarified the rules about limitation periods for the imposition of fines by the commission, and that as a result "it was clear that the commission decision of 2009 was incorrect".