Scania loses appeal against Commission’s €880 million truck cartel fine

The Court of Justice of the European Union has dismissed Scania’s appeal against a fine of more than €880 million for truck cartels, in which the Swedish truck manufacturer argued that the Court hadn’t been impartial in the administrative procedure, disputed the Court’s characterisation of the geographical scope of its conduct, and argued that the Commission’s power to impose a fine was time-barred.

Scania had challenged a decision by the European Commission, which found that Scania AB, Scania CV AB, and Scania Deutschland GmbH (entities of the Scania group) violated EU antitrust laws by participating in a cartel with competitors from January 1997 to January 2011. The cartel aimed to restrict competition in the market for medium and heavy trucks in the European Economic Area (EEA), leading to the imposition of a €880.523 million fine on Scania.

The General Court had previously rejected Scania’s attempt to annul the Commission’s decision, and Scania appealed this judgment to the Court of Justice.

However, the Court of Justice upheld the General Court’s decision, affirming the fine imposed on Scania.

The Court of Justice dismissed Scania’s arguments that the General Court failed to assess the administrative procedure’s compliance with the principle of impartiality. It found that the Commission’s use of the same team for both the settlement decision and the final decision did not, in itself, raise concerns about impartiality, lacking any other objective evidence presented by Scania.

Furthermore, the Court of Justice rejected Scania’s contentions regarding the characterization of the geographic scope of its conduct and the establishment of a single and continuous infringement. The Court emphasised that Scania had not provided objective evidence to challenge the General Court’s findings.

Finally, the Court of Justice noted that, based on its analysis, the infringement in question concluded on January 18, 2011. Consequently, the five-year limitation period for imposing a fine only began from that date, and the Commission’s authority to impose a fine was not considered time-barred.