On 17 July 2019, the Italian Competition Authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato – “AGCM”) concluded an investigation, finding that two separate agreements had been implemented to distort competition in the market for corrugated cardboard sheets and the market for corrugated cardboard packaging respectively. The agreements involved the main companies that manufacture corrugated cardboard sheets and packaging, as well as the relevant trade association Gruppo Italiano Fabbricanti Cartone Ondulato (GIFCO).
In view of the severity and duration of the infringement, the AGCM imposed fines totalling more than EUR 287 million. The Authority granted the benefit of total immunity from fines to the companies of the DS Smith group which, in their capacity as first leniency applicants, avoided the imposition of a fine in excess of EUR 70 million. In addition, also in the application of the leniency programme, the Authority granted the subsequent leniency applicants (Ondulati Nordest S.p.A., Scatolificio ldealkart S.r.l. and the companies of the Pro-Gest group) the benefit of the reduction of the fine by up to 50%. Nevertheless, the leniency applicants are fully liable to the victims of the Cartel.
On 24 May 2021, the Lazio Regional Administrative Court confirmed AGCM’s sanctions. The administrative judges have in fact rejected 21 of the 25 appeals filed by as many companies sanctioned by the AGCM, highlighting, with regards to both agreements restricting competition, the “very robust evidentiary framework” and the “adequate analysis of the competitive scope” carried out by the Authority, on which the sanctioning provision is based.
With Judgment No. 10159/2022, published on 18 November 2022 ("Judgment"), the Council of State upheld the decision of the Lazio Regional Administrative Court which had dismissed the appeal brought by a leading corrugated cardboard packaging manufacturing and marketing company against Order No. 27849, adopted by AGCM at the conclusion of the "I805 - CORDULATED CARDBOARD PRICES" proceedings.
In particular, the Council of State confirmed the existence of the two restrictive agreements implemented to distort competition respectively in the Italian market for corrugated cardboard sheets and in the Italian market for cardboard packaging, in breach of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union ("TFEU").
To date, a further 24 proceedings are pending before the Council of State, whose public hearing was held last December.
Deminor proposes to the victims of the Corrugated Cardboard Cartel to join its collective action for damages, which is entirely financed and managed by Deminor.
If your company purchased corrugated cardboard sheets and / or packaging from the Members of the Cartel between 2004 and 2017 and you wish to check, free of charge and without obligation, the financial impact suffered by the Cartel and whether it is eligible to join our collective action for damages, please register by clicking on the following link and you will be contacted by our Team.