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Emilija Berzanskaite
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17th January 2022
Competition & State Aid

Commission’s decisions in ethanol market cartel case challenged before the General Court

Alcogroup and Alcodis have challenged Commission’s decisions adopted in antitrust case AT.40054 — Ethanol Benchmarks. The action was published today in the Official Journal under the case reference Alcogroup and Alcodis v Commission (T-740/21).

In December 2021, the European Commission fined the Spanish company Abengoa S.A. and its subsidiary Abengoa Bionenergía S.A. 20 million euros for participating in a cartel concerning the wholesale price formation mechanism in the European ethanol market. The case was settled under the Commission’s 2008 Settlement Notice, which resulted in a fine reduction of 10% in light of Abengoa’s acknowledgment of its participation in and liability for the infringement (read more here). 

In support of the action against, first, the decision of the Commission requesting Abengoa SA and Abengoa Bioenergia SA to restart the settlement procedure and, second, the decision to reopen that procedure, the applicants rely on a single plea alleging infringement of the rules applicable to settlements. 

The applicants submit that in adopting the contested decisions, the Commission infringes the rules applicable to settlements. The applicable rules do not provide for the Commission reopening a settlement procedure at that stage of the proceedings, let alone by precluding any discussion concerning the case overview disclosed in an initial settlement procedure in 2016 and 2017. Furthermore, the applicants submit that the contested decisions lead to a clear infringement of their rights of defence. 

Access the officially published action here.

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