European Union (EU) antitrust regulators have undertaken unannounced raids on the offices of top European tyre manufacturers: Italy’s Pirelli, Germany-based Continental, France’s Michelin and Finland’s Nokian Tyres, as part of an investigation into a possible cartel deal.
The European Commission, which acts as competition enforcer in the 27-country European Union, said it had raided a number of tyre makers in several EU countries.
In a statement issued, it said, “the inspected companies may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).”
Nokian Tyres issued a statement, “The European Commission has today initiated an unannounced inspection at Nokian Tyres plc’s headquarters in Nokia, Finland.”
Nokian Tyres added that it “does not have information on the outcome of the inspection, and it cannot comment on the ongoing investigation.” It also said that it is fully co-operating with the authorities.
Italian company Pirelli told Reuters it had acted fairly and “always in total compliance with all rules and regulations”.
“Pirelli informs that it is guaranteeing full support to the authority in the ongoing investigations,” a spokesman for the Milan-based company said.
Meanwhile, German competitor Continental confirmed that investigations by European antitrust authorities were taking place at the company’s offices in Germany.
France’s Michelin said it was included in the EU investigation and that it strictly complies with competition rules.
The EU watchdog said products related to the inspections were new replacement tyres for passenger cars, vans, trucks and buses sold in the European Economic Area comprising EU countries, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
The Commission said it “is concerned that price coordination took place amongst the inspected companies, including via public communications”.