EU probing shipping equipment cartel

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The European Commission has confirmed it has written to a number of companies to outline its suspicions that they have been participating in a cartel suspected of controlling the market for marine hoses.

The Commission did not name any of the companies involved as it does not comment on ongoing investigations. It said in a statement: “The European Commission can confirm that a statement of objections has been sent to a number of companies active in the supply of marine hoses, concerning their alleged participation in a cartel.”

The charges follows surprise inspections by the Commission in May 2007 against companies in France, Italy and the UK, a move that followed Japanese and US investigations into a worldwide cartel for hoses.

Marine hoses are used in the petroleum industry during the loading and unloading of tanker ships.

Companies accused of forming a cartel normally have two months to respond to the Commission’s notice.