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EC expected to sue lift firms for damages

The European Commission (EC) has announced it is to sue Swiss company Schindler and three other lift firms for damages incurred by a price-fixing cartel.

It is seeking compensation over what it described as collusion to raise the cost of lifts in European Union buildings in Belgium and Luxembourg, the EC executive said on Tuesday.

Germany’s ThyssenKrupp AG, Finland’s Kone and United Technologies’s unit Otis Elevator of the United States will also be sued.

The EC would not give an estimate of the damages it will be seeking but is awaiting the outcome of a case being heard at a Belgian commercial court to help identify the total amount.

A spokesman for Schindler said the company was waiting for the EU to specify the level of damages and prove it to the court.

The announcement comes 17 months after the EC imposed its largest-ever cartel fine for fixing lift prices against five firms including the Lucerne-based Schindler, which alone had to pay a €144 million (SFr234 million) penalty.

The commission had said the accused companies fixed prices in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands from 1995 to 2004, rigged bids and allocated projects to each other.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR