By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS, March 21 Goldman Sachs and world No.1
cablemaker Prysmian will be charged along with France's Nexans
and several Japanese cable firms next month by the EU for
operating an industry price-fixing cartel, four people with
knowledge of the matter said on Friday.
The European Commission's competition authority launched the
case with raids on the companies more than five years ago. It
can fine wrong-doers up to 10 percent of their global turnover
for breaching EU rules.
"The Commission's decision is expected to come before Easter
(April 20)," one of the sources said.
Authorities in Japan, South Korea and Australia have already
levied million-dollar fines against cable companies for
anti-competitive practices, and the United States Department of
Justice is also investigating the industry.
Goldman Sachs, which acquired Italy's Prysmian
via one of its private equity funds in 2005, declined
to comment. It has since sold its holding. Prysmian, which makes
cables for the power and telecom industries, declined to
comment. The company has made a 199-million-euro ($274.27
million) provision for a possible fine.
World No. 2 cablemaker Nexans, which set aside a
200-million-euro provision three years ago for a possible fine,
said it did not have any information as to when the European
Commission would give its ruling or what the ruling would be.
A spokeswoman for Nexans said the last exchange the company
had had with the European Commission dated from late 2013, at
which point it had not been informed of any fine or when a
ruling would come.
The European Commission spokesman for competition policy,
Antoine Colombani, also declined to comment.
The sources said that Swiss engineering group ABB
alerted the cartel to the Commission, and would not face
sanctions. The Swiss engineering group declined to comment.
The sources said the other cablemakers expected to be
penalised include Japanese cable firms Exsym Corporation,
J-Power Systems Corporation and Viscas Corporation, and Korean
peer LS Cable & System.
J-Power Systems is controlled jointly by Hitachi Metals Ltd
and Sumitomo Electric Industries .. Mitsubishi
Cable Industries is a shareholder in Exsym.
It was not clear if Danish industrial group NKT Holding
, South Korean firm Taihan Electric Wire and
General Cable Corp which received the EU charge sheet in
July 2011, will face fines.
($1 = 0.7256 Euros)
(Additional reporting by Massimo Gaia in Milan, Natalie Huet in
Paris and Katharina Bart in Zurich; editing by Sophie Walker)