* DHL Global Forwarding has immunity from prosecution, fine
* Panalpina says may suffer penalties; shares down 4.3 pct
* UPS, Kuehne & Nagel, DSV confirm receiving EU charges
* EU Commission can levy fines up to 10 pct of global sales
(Adds UPS comments)
By Bate Felix
BRUSSELS, Feb 10 Logistics companies DHL
(DPWGn.DE), UPS (UPS.N), Panalpina (PWTN.S), Kuehne & Nagel
KNIN.VX and DSV UDSV.CO have been charged by the European
Commission with illegally fixing prices for air freight
The case concerns suspected collusion on surcharges, the
European Union's competition watchdog said on Wednesday without
identifying the companies.
Freight forwarding firms organise the transport of goods,
customs clearance, warehousing and ground services for
companies, exporters, importers and individuals.
A spokesman for United Parcel Services Inc, the world's
largest package delivery service, said it had received a charge
sheet from EU regulators and would examine the findings.
Deutsche Post DHL, Europe's biggest mail and express
delivery company, said its global forwarding unit had also
received a so-called "statement of objections", a charge sheet
in which the Commission lists suspected violations.
The German company said in a statement that it had been
granted immunity from prosecution and fines by the Commission,
conditional upon its continued cooperation with the regulator.
The EU executive can fine companies up to 10 percent of annual
turnover if it concludes that they broke EU rules.
The Commission operates a leniency policy whereby companies
that provide information about a cartel in which they
participated might receive full or partial immunity from fines.
The watchdog also offers immunity to the first company to
inform it of cartel activity.
Swiss logistics groups Panalpina (PWTN.S) and Kuehne & Nagel
KNIN.VX also confirmed receiving the charge sheet.
The proceedings may "result in material penalties being
imposed on Panalpina entities", Panalpina said in a statement.
Danish transport company DSV (DSV.CO) said the Commission
document concerned subsidiary ABX Logistics Air & Sea (France)
SAS and related to activities from March 19, 2003 to Aug. 19,
A Commission statement said the infringements related to
services from Britain to outside the 30-country European
Economic Area (EEA), from the EEA to the United States, from
China to the EEA and from southern China/Hong Kong to the EEA.
Deutsche Post shares closed 0.5 percent higher, Panalpina
was down 5.1 percent, Kuehne & Nagel ended 0.9 percent lower and
DSV was 0.9 percent higher. The DJ Stoxx industrial groups and
services index .SXNP ended 0.5 percent higher.
(Additional reporting by Catherine Bosley in Zurich, Michael
Shields in Frankfurt, John Acher in Copenhagen; writing by Foo
Yun Chee; editing by Dale Hudson and Louise Heavens)