Summary of Commission Decision of 27 June 2012 relating to a proceeding under Article 101 of the Treaty (Case COMP/39.611 — Water management products) (notified under document C(2012) 4313)
OJ C 335, 1.11.2012, p. 4–5 (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
|Bilingual display: BG CS DA DE EL EN ES ET FI FR HU IT LT LV MT NL PL PT RO SK SL SV|
Summary of Commission Decision
of 27 June 2012
relating to a proceeding under Article 101 of the Treaty 
(Case COMP/39.611 — Water management products)
(notified under document C(2012) 4313)
(Only the English text is authentic)
On 27 June 2012, the Commission adopted a decision relating to a proceeding under Article 101 of the Treaty. In accordance with the provisions of Article 30 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 , the Commission herewith publishes the names of the parties and the main content of the decision, including any penalties imposed, having regard to the legitimate interest of undertakings in the protection of their business secrets.
(1) The Decision relates to a single and continuous infringement of Article 101 of the Treaty relating to the production and sale of water management products (WMP). WMP comprise pressurisation systems and products for quality assurance. Pressurisation systems cover pressure maintenance systems, expansion vessels and water make-up systems. Products for quality assurance cover degassing systems, air vents, separators and safety valves. The Decision is addressed to the following undertakings: (i) Flamco ; (ii) Reflex  and (iii) Pneumatex .
2. CASE DESCRIPTION
(2) Following the immunity application of Pneumatex, the Commission carried out unannounced inspections in December 2008 and April 2009 at the premises of Flamco, Reflex and Pneumatex and thereafter sent out several requests for information.
(3) The Commission initiated proceedings in this case on 27 January 2011. Settlement discussions took place between 16 February 2011 and 20 March 2012. Subsequently, the cartel members submitted to the Commission their formal request to settle pursuant to Article 10a(2) of Regulation (EC) No 773/2004. On 25 April 2012, the Commission adopted a statement of objections and the parties all confirmed that its content reflected their submissions and that they remained committed to follow the settlement procedure. The Advisory Committee on restrictive practices and dominant positions issued a favourable opinion on 25 June 2012 and the Commission adopted the Decision on 27 June 2012.
2.2. Addressees and duration of the infringement
(4) The following undertakings infringed Article 101 of the Treaty by participating, during the periods indicated below, in anti-competitive activities with respect to the production and sale of WMP:
(a) Flamco and Pneumatex from 21 June 2006 to 15 May 2008;
(b) Reflex from 21 June 2006 to 13 May 2008.
2.3. Summary of the infringement
(5) Flamco, Pneumatex and Reflex participated in a cartel, the overall aim of which was to coordinate prices in the WMP sector in Germany. In autumn 2006, Reflex and Pneumatex also aimed at coordinating prices in some other Member States. Flamco was involved in contacts only as regards the German market for WMP.
(6) The undertakings informed each other through bilateral contacts of the amount and date of planned price increases and exchanged information on current prices, including gross price lists, and other commercially sensitive information with the ultimate aim to coordinate prices of WMP. The undertakings communicated and/or received information from each other regarding their pricing intentions and are presumed to have taken this into account when determining their own conduct on the market.
(7) The geographic scope of the infringement, as regards all three participants, concerned Germany during the entire period of the infringement. In addition, in autumn 2006 Reflex and Pneumatex exchanged information on price increases amounting to price coordination concerning some other Member States, namely, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Hungary, the United Kingdom, Greece, the Netherlands and Denmark.
(8) Overall, the cartel lasted from 21 June 2006 until 15 May 2008 ( 13 May 2008 for Reflex). The cartel contacts had a varying intensity in the course of the overall duration of the cartel. The contacts were less intense during the period from mid-December 2006 to mid-April 2008. It is therefore considered that this period constituted a period of limited activity of the cartel.
(9) The Decision applies the 2006 Guidelines on Fines . With the exception of Pneumatex, the Decision imposes fines on all relevant companies of the undertakings listed under point 4 above.
2.4.1. Basic amount of the fine
(10) The basic amount of fine is set at 15 % of the undertakings' sales of WMP in the geographic area listed under point 7 above.
(11) The basic amount is multiplied by the number of years of participation in the infringement in order to take fully into account the duration of the participation for each undertaking in the infringement individually.
(12) As specified above, the cartel went through a period of limited activity which should not be taken into account for the purposes of calculating the fines. The duration to be taken into account amounts to a period of six months for Flamco, Reflex and Pneumatex.
2.4.2. Adjustments to the basic amount
18.104.22.168. Aggravating and mitigating circumstances
(13) There are no aggravating or mitigating circumstances in this case.
22.214.171.124. Specific increase for deterrence
(14) In this case, there is no need to increase the fine in order to achieve a sufficiently deterrent effect.
2.4.3. Application of the 10 % turnover limit
(15) In this particular case, the adjusted basic amounts do not exceed 10 % of the total turnover of any of the undertakings achieved in 2011.
2.4.4. Application of the 2006 Leniency Notice
(16) Pneumatex is granted immunity from fines.
2.4.5. Application of the Settlement Notice
(17) As a result of the application of the Settlement Notice, the amount of the fine to be imposed on Flamco and Reflex is reduced by 10 %.
3. FINES IMPOSED BY THE DECISION
(18) For the single and continuous infringement dealt with in this Decision, the following fines are imposed:
(a) on Reflex Winkelmann GmbH & Co. KG and Winkelmann Group GmbH & Co. KG, jointly and severally: EUR 9791000;
(b) on TA Hydronics Switzerland AG: EUR 0;
(c) on Flamco GmbH, Flamco Holding B.V., voestalpine Polynorm B.V. and voestalpine AG, jointly and severally: EUR 3870000.
 With effect from 1 December 2009, Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty have become Articles 101 and 102, respectively, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union ("the Treaty"). The two sets of provisions are, in substance, identical. References to Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty should be understood as references to Articles 81 and 82, respectively, of the EC Treaty where appropriate.
 OJ L 1, 4.1.2003, p. 1.
 The relevant companies are Flamco GmbH (formerly "Flamco Wemefa GmbH"), Flamco Holding B.V., voestalpine Polynorm B.V. (formerly "voestalpine Polynorm N.V.") and voestalpine AG.
 The relevant companies are Reflex Winkelmann GmbH & Co. KG and Winkelmann Group GmbH & Co. KG.
 The relevant companies are TA Hydronics Switzerland AG (formerly "Pneumatex AG").
 OJ C 210, 1.9.2006, p. 2.