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Lift manufacturer fined

The Austrian high court confirmed on Friday a fine of 34.7 million euros (SFr52 million) imposed on the Swiss lift manufacturer Schindler.

A total of five lift manufacturers operating in Austria were found guilty of colluding over the allocation of projects, prices and sensitive market information. The secret agreements had operated from the 1980s until 2004.

In addition to Lucerne-based Schindler those involved include two companies – Doppelmayr and Haushahn – which have since been taken over by Schindler. The other two are Kone of Finland and Otis of the US. In all they were fined 75.5 million euros. The affair was revealed by ThyssenKrupp in 2005, which was then granted immunity from prosecution.

The fine was originally imposed by a lower court last year, and Schindler said the amount had been included in its accounts for 2007.

Schindler is one of five manufacturers who face fines from the EU competition authorities over a similar affair. But the company has appealed against the verdict, and a final decision in this case is not expected until 2009.