Final report of the Hearing Officer in the Carglass Case COMP/39.125 — PO/Carglass (Pursuant to Articles 15 and 16 of Commission Decision (2001/462/EC, ECSC) of 23 May 2001 on the terms of reference of Hearing Officers in certain competition proceedings — OJ L 162, 19.6.2001, p. 21 )
OJ C 173, 25.7.2009, p. 9–10 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)
BG CS DA DE EL EN ES ET FI FR HU IT LT LV MT NL PL PT RO SK SL SV
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Final report of the Hearing Officer in the Carglass Case COMP/39.125 — PO/Carglass
(Pursuant to Articles 15 and 16 of Commission Decision (2001/462/EC, ECSC) of 23 May 2001 on the terms of reference of Hearing Officers in certain competition proceedings — OJ L 162, 19.6.2001, p. 21)
The draft Decision gives rise to the following observations:
In February and March 2005, the Commission conducted inspections in several Member States at the premises of major car glass producers. In February 2005, the Commission received an application for immunity or alternatively reduction of fines under the 2002 Leniency Notice . On the basis of the information collected during the investigation, the Commission came to the preliminary conclusion that the three main suppliers of car glass, Saint-Gobain, Pilkington and AGC, entered into agreements and/or concerted practices concerning car glass supplies and also exchanged sensitive commercial information contrary to Article 81 of the EC Treaty and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement from at least 1997 until at least October 2004 in the EU. Soliver, a smaller Belgian supplier, participated in such agreements and/or concerted practices only from December 1998 to March 2003.
Statement of Objections and Time to Reply
The Commission notified a Statement of Objections ("SO") on 19 April 2007 to the following parties:
(i) Asahi Glass Co. Ltd and its subsidiaries; Glaverbel SA, Glaverbel France SA, Glaverbel Italy S.r.l., Glaverbel UK, Splintex France SA, Splintex UK Limited, AGC Automotive Europe SA and AGC Automotive Germany GmbH;
(ii) La Compagnie de Saint-Gobain SA and its subsidiaries; Saint-Gobain Glass France SA, Saint-Gobain Sekurit Deutschland GmbH and Saint-Gobain Sekurit France SA;
(iii) Pilkington Group Limited and its subsidiaries; Pilkington Automotive Ltd, Pilkington Automotive Deutschland GmbH, Pilkington Holding GmbH, Pilkington Italia Spa; and
(iv) Soliver NV.
The parties received the SO on 20 April 2007 and were given two months to reply. Upon the reasoned requests of the parties, the responsible Hearing Officer at that time, Serge Durande, granted extensions to all parties, except La Compagnie de Saint-Gobain SA.
All the parties responded in due time.
Access to file
The parties received access to the file through a DVD on 25 April and through another DVD on 30 April 2007. Corporate statements made in the framework of the leniency application were accessible at the Commission’s premises.
An Oral Hearing was held on 24 September 2007, which was attended by representatives of all parties.
Soliver addressed a letter to Hearing Officer Serge Durande on 15 October 2007, in which it further elaborated on certain issues concerning the investigation that had already been raised during the Oral Hearing. In his letter of 26 October 2007, the Hearing Officer explained that the Commission has a wide discretion on how to conduct investigations against undertakings in antitrust proceedings subject to principles such as the principles of proportionality and protection against arbitrary inspections .
THE DRAFT DECISION
The draft decision differs from the Statement of Objections in the following regards:
- the duration of the infringement and the duration of the respective parties’ participation have been shortened in comparison to the SO,
- some allegations contained in the SO, in particular concerning the extent of certain parties’ involvement in the infringement (i.e., ring-leader role; representation of a party by another in the cartel discussions; discussions about the alignment of production strategies for dark tinted glass), have been dropped.
It is my opinion that the draft Decision submitted to the Commission only contains objections in respect of which the parties have been afforded the opportunity of making known their views.
I conclude that the rights of the parties to be heard in writing and orally have been respected in the present case.
Brussels, 3 July 2008.
 OJ C 45, 19.2.2002, pp. 3-5.
 Judgement of the ECJ of 22 October 2002 in Case C-94/00 Roquette Frères SA v Commission, paragraphs 27, 61-81.