Martijn van de Hel has successfully represented a large European manufacturer of traction batteries in the appeal proceedings against a fine of almost €600,000 imposed on the company by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (“ACM”) for alleged participation in a cartel. According to ACM, the company had made price-fixing agreements with competitors. ACM claimed that the objective of those agreements was to incorporate in a structural manner the widely fluctuating price of lead into the retail price of batteries.
The Rotterdam Court reversed the fine imposed on the battery producer, on the grounds that ACM had insufficiently proven that the company could be considered a participant in the offence. It had not been established, for instance, that the company subscribed to the general objectives of the cartel. The Court therefore considered it insufficiently proven that it could be regarded as a participant in the offence.