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EC investigating pipe and fittings sector

July 13, 2012

BRUSSELS (July 13, 11 a.m. ET) — Days after the European Commission announced inspections at the plants of unnamed manufacturers of plastic pipes and pipe fittings used in the sewage industry, Tessenderlo Group today confirmed that the EC has carried out an inspection at its Nyloplast subsidiary.

The Tessenderlo, Belgium-based company said it “fully cooperated with the authorities during this inspection” at the Netherlands-based subsidiary, adding: “We are currently assessing the situation and cannot give further information at this stage.”

The Commission said July 11 it has concerns that companies, which it did not name in its statement, may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices.

According to several news reports, Vienna, Austria-based Wienerberger AG, which earlier this year bought the 50 percent stake in Pipelife it did not already own from Solvay SA, also was investigated.

In January, European Plastics News reported that three plastic pipe system manufacturers were suspected of being part of a price fixing cartel operating in Hungary.

The activities of Pipelife Hungaria and Wavin Hungary, along with those of the national pipe fittings producer BTH Fitting, recently acquired by Belgium’s Tessenderlo group, were investigated by Hungary’s Competition Authority GVH.