ABB caught up in EU price-fixing probe

ABB says it is cooperating fully with the EU investigation Keystone Archive

Swiss-Swedish engineering giant ABB says it is cooperating with an investigation by the European Commission into suspected price fixing.

This content was published on May 14, 2004 - 12:54

The probe concerns producers of equipment used by electrical utilities.

EU inspectors carried out raids this week on a number of companies involved in the high-voltage gas insulated switchgear (GIS) business.

But ABB said in a statement that none of its premises had been inspected.

The Zurich-based firm said it contacted the authorities after an internal audit revealed that certain ABB employees - together with staff at other companies in the GIS business - were involved in anti-competitive practices.

The EU refused to confirm how many other companies were under investigation, but ABB’s main rivals in the GIS business include the German electronics giant, Siemens, and the Paris-based nuclear power group, Areva.

Full cooperation

ABB said it was “cooperating fully with the investigations” and confirmed that it would take all necessary steps against any employees found to have been involved in price fixing.

The company also confirmed on Thursday that it had sacked two managers in connection with an internal investigation.

“Our customers, employees and other stakeholders have the right to expect that ABB and its employees uphold and respect the highest standards of business ethics,” said ABB chairman Jürgen Dormann.

GIS is heavy electrical gear used to control the energy flow in electrical grids. The main customers for the equipment are public utilities, municipalities and some private companies.

ABB says it makes up to SFr261 million ($200 million) in turnover from its GIS division each year.

The company operates in around 100 countries and currently has a 113,000-strong workforce.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

The European Commission has launched an investigation into suspected price fixing in the high-voltage gas insulated switchgear (GIS) business.
ABB confirmed it had sacked two managers in connection with its own internal audit relating to the investigation.
The Swiss-Swedish engineering giant's annual turnover in the GIS business is up to SFr261 million ($200 million).

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