CADE’s General Superintendence investigates an automotive filters cartel
The General Superintendence of the Administrative Council for Economic Defense – CADE has initiated, on 17 August, the Administrative Proceeding 08700.003340/2017-63 in order to investigate a bid rigging in the automotive filters market. The alleged anticompetitive conduct would had been practiced in Brazil and it seems to have been related to the national independent spare parts’ market.
The six investigated companies are Affinia Automotive Ltda., Mahle Metal Leve S.A., Mann + Hummel Brasil Ltda., Robert Bosch Ltda., Sofape Fabricante de Filtros Ltda., and Sogefi Filtration do Brasil Ltda. According to the proceedings’ technical note, there is evidence that these companies coordinated to fix prices, combine uniform strategies and prices escalation (percentage, moment and justification), align payment conditions to be offered to customers, and avoid granting reductions.
According to the Superintendence, 41 individuals, related to the companies, would had led the conducts. The agreements would had been implemented by means of face-to-face meetings, telephonic contacts and e-mail, between 2004 and May 2012, at least.
After the initiation of the Administrative Proceeding, the defendants will be notified in order to present their defenses. At the conclusion of the investigation, the General Superintendence will issue an opinion and forward the case to CADE’s Administrative Tribunal, responsible for issuing the final decision.
Investigations in the sector
Between 2014 and 2017, the General Superintendence has initiated thirteen administrative proceedings in order to investigate cartels in the auto parts sector. The of investigated cartels in the auto parts’ markets include sparking plugs (Administrative Proceeding 08700.005789/2014-13); anti-friction bearings (Administrative Proceeding 08012.005324/2012-59); clutch facings (Administrative Proceeding 08700.010321/2012-89); thermal systems, including radiators, capacitors, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (Administrative Proceeding 08700.010323/2012-78); windshield wipers (Administrative Proceeding 08700.010320/2012-34); safety devices, such as seat belts, airbags and steering wheels (Administrative Proceeding 08700.004631/2015-15); dampers (Administrative Proceeding 08700.004629/2015-38); ceramic substrates (Administrative Proceeding 08700.009167/2015-45); automotive spare parts (Administrative Proceeding 08700.006386/2016-53); exhaust systems and their components (Administrative Proceeding 08700.001486/2017-74); airbag modules, seat belts and steering wheels (Administrative Proceeding 08700.002938/2017-35); and, valve for engines, valve guides and valve seats (Administrative Proceeding 08700.002904/2017-41).
The General Superintendence has also conducted dawn raids in August 2014 related to additional four markets, which still may be object of the administrative proceedings. These specific markets are: automotive lighting (headlights, lanterns and brake lights); emergency switches (hazard lights and arrow keys); access mechanism (cylinders sets, handles, locks and steering locks); and, automotive clutches. There are also other ongoing investigations in the auto parts sector.