EU Commission swoops on RISI’s kraft paper sector for anticompetitive practices

By Jenny Eagle contact

- Last updated on GMT

EU Commission investigates anticompetitive violations. Picture: iStock.
EU Commission investigates anticompetitive violations. Picture: iStock.

Related tags: European union

The European Commission carried out an unannounced inspection at RISI, Brussels, on Monday (January 15) for anticompetitive practices.

RISI is a subsidiary of the Euromoney group, which provides independent information to the kraft paper and packaging market.

Cooperating with investigations

Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC (Euromoney) confirms the European Commission is conducting an unannounced inspection at the Brussels office of its RISI business​,” said Tim Bratton, general counsel & company secretary, Euromoney.

The Commission is investigating the sector of kraft paper in the European Union/European Economic Area​.

RISI is committed to working fully with the Commission during this process​.”

Earlier the European Commission released a statement to say the ‘inspection took place in one Member State and is part of the same investigation that led the Commission to carry out unannounced inspections in 2016​ and 2017​ in the sector of kraft paper and industrial paper sacks.’

It said the Commission has concerns the inspected company may have violated Article 101​ of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which prohibits anti-competitive practices such as price fixing and customer allocation.

The Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authority.

Euromoney acquired RISI, an information provider for the global forest products industry, along with affiliated company FOEX Indexes Ltd, in April last year.

Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, RISI works with clients in the pulp and paper, packaging, wood products, timber, biomass, tissue and nonwovens industries to help them make better decisions.

It has 10 global offices in North and South America, Europe and Asia.

Preliminary step

The European Commission said unannounced inspections are a preliminary step in investigations into suspected cartels. The fact the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behavior, nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

The Commission respects the rights of defence, in particular the right of companies to be heard in antitrust proceedings.

There is no legal deadline to complete inquiries into anti-competitive conduct. Their duration depends on the complexity of each case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned co-operate and the exercise of the rights of defence.

The European Commission carried out similar unannounced inspections of kraft paper and industrial paper sacks sector in March last year.

It said at the time: ‘​The inspections took place in several Member States. The Commission has concerns that the relevant companies may have violated Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which prohibits anti-competitive practices such as price fixing and customer allocation. 

‘These inspections are part of the same investigation that led the Commission to carry out unannounced inspections in March 2016​ in the same sectors.' 

RISI is currently organizing its 20th​ annual European Conference at the Catalonia Barcelona Plaza Hotel, in Barcelona, Spain from March 5-7, 2018. Speakers include Martin Luh, global cartonboard expert, Nestlé and Eliano Apicella, purchasing director - packaging & promotional materials, Barilla.

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