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La Comissió multa a l'antic productor d'etanol Abengoa amb 20 milions d'euros en una liquidació de càrtels




The Commission has fined the Spanish company Abengoa S.A. and its subsidiary Abengoa Bionenergía S.A. (together ‘Abengoa’) € 20 million for participating in a cartel concerning the wholesale price formation mechanism in the European ethanol market. Abengoa admitted its involvement in the cartel and agreed to settle the case. Ethanol is an alcohol made from biomass that, when added to gasoline, can be used as a biofuel for motor vehicles. The port of Rotterdam and the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp barge market are the most important trading locations for ethanol in Europe. S&P Global Platts (‘Platts’) takes the trading activity in this area into account in its assessment process for establishing its ethanol benchmarks, which are used as reference prices in the industry. To establish its benchmarks, Platts uses a price assessment process called ‘Market on Close’ (‘MOC’).

The Commission’s investigation revealed that Abengoa coordinated its trading behaviour with other companies on a regular basis before, during and after the so-called Platts ‘MOC Window’, which is the period between 16:00 and 16:30 London time. Abengoa’s aim was to artificially increase, maintain and/or prevent from decreasing the levels of Platts’ ethanol benchmarks. Abengoa also limited the supply of ethanol delivered to the Rotterdam area, in order to reduce the volumes available for delivery in the MOC Window. Abengoa’s ethanol traders had illegal contacts with individuals at other companies, typically in the form of chats, in order to coordinate with them certain of its ethanol trading activities before, during and after the MOC Windonw. These practices are prohibited under EU competition rules. The infringement covered the entire European Economic Area. Abengoa’s involvement lasted from 6 September 2011 to 16 May 2014.

Vicepresidenta executiva Margrethe Vestager (a la foto), in charge of competition policy, said: “We fine today Abengoa, formerly one of the biggest ethanol producers in the EU, for aiming at influencing ethanol benchmarks in the market. Biofuels can contribute to promote cleaner transport and cut greenhouse gas emissions and for this reason, efficient biofuels markets play a key role. The Commission has zero tolerance for cartels and will enforce its antitrust rules strictly to ensure competition in all markets, including those relevant for the Green transition, such as the ethanol market.”

Un comunicat de premsa està disponible online.

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